Clinicians considering a return to the NHS

We had an amazing response to our Bringing Back Staff (BBS) programme which started in March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are extremely grateful to everyone who stepped forward to help.

Over 4000 clinicians returned to employment through the BBS scheme to provide valuable support to health and social care, in frontline acute services and other settings, as COVID-19 vaccinators, and through national programmes like continuing health care and clinical trials.

Each person offered a unique range of skills and experiences. We worked carefully with all those who offered their help to try and match individual preferences with health and social care needs. In some cases this was not possible, as we further developed our response to the pandemic.

With the success of the vaccination programme, the BBS programme closed to new placements at the end of June 2021, however clinicians interested in returning to practice, whether full time or through flexible schemes, may wish to consider the following schemes.

NHS Emeritus Consultants is a digital platform connecting experienced consultants who have recently retired, or are soon to retire, to patients who are waiting for outpatient appointments.

The platform enables consultants to continue to work flexibly at times which suit them. Trusts upload their requirements onto the platform and patients are ‘matched’ with a consultant with the right skills and availability.

Consultants can choose whether to see patients in-person or virtually through a video consultation.

To find out more and sign up visit:

Bank members work in various roles, grades, and specialties, and are afforded flexibility and choice in their employment. If a hospital does not have enough staff on a ward, due to increased demand, sickness or staff shortages, Bank staff play a vital role in ensuring high standards of patient care are maintained, meaning these temporary workers are highly valued.

Some areas and regions maintain their own bank, whereas others will use a bank called NHS Professionals. In order to join the right bank please look at the website for the organisation/s you are interested in.

Health Education England provides programmes for clinicians to return to their profession and regain their professional registration. The requirements and support available varies between professions.

NHS Health and Care Reserve sites are building a pool of vetted and experienced emergency workforce aimed at supporting targeted care delivery in times of high demand, and/or supporting schemes such as planned vaccination campaigns.

The NHS Health and Care Reserve is designed to appeal to those who would be interested in continuing to use their skills to support the NHS and Care, but don’t wish to undertake shifts in the standard bank model. The Reserve will offer non-clinical, or unregistered and registered clinical roles to support specific programmes.

You may be retired, working in a completely unrelated occupation, studying or not in paid employment, but have capacity to commit to between 20 and 32 days per year to keep your skills up to date, and willing to be called upon in the event of an unforeseen emergency.

You can express interest and find out more information about your regional Reservist sites.

NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC) Bank works as part of a multi-disciplinary team including health, social care and independent providers, to review, assess and plan people’s complex ongoing care needs in the community and care home settings.

NHS CHC offers flexible, virtual remote working (subject to agreement) for registered practitioners, with Health Needs Assessment (HNA) training available where required. Find out more about NHS CHC bank opportunities and register your interest.

GP Return to Practice Programme

The NHS GP Return to Practice programme provides a safe, supported pathway for qualified GPs to return to NHS General Practice after an absence of more than 2 years. Further information about the opportunities and options are available on the HEE website.

Opportunities within Primary Care for GPs

Primary care offers new ways of working that incorporate flexible careers and clinical / non-clinical roles such as mentorship. New Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) incorporating primary, community and secondary care provide an opportunity to work across traditional boundaries. There is also a renewed focus on supporting the health and well-being of NHS staff though the NHS People Plan.

We may in some areas be able to signpost GPs to other roles including:

  • Roles with the vaccination programme
  • Supporting primary care with recovery work
  • Local NHS 111 providers
  • Long COVID-19 treatment centres

To access this support, email

Volunteers make a huge contribution to the health and wellbeing of the nation, giving their time, skills and expertise freely each year to support the NHS. They are crucial to the NHS’s vision for the future of health and social care, as partners with, not substitutes for, skilled staff. Tens of thousands of volunteers have supported the NHS and patients throughout the pandemic, especially within the vaccination programme and the NHS Volunteer Responders. For more information on volunteering opportunities, visit the website of the organisation/s you are interested in, or