Returning to work – what it could involve

Yes. There are many opportunities for non-face to face roles, such as working with the COVID-19 Response Service (CRS) or NHS 111. In addition, local OOH providers, GP surgeries and PCNs have non-face to face roles which urgently require support.

If you would be interested in this type of work, please indicate this on the survey. You will then receive information directly from these services about what the work will involve.

We want to make sure that we look after anyone who chooses to temporarily return to work. This may mean that you are placed with a remote or digital service, such as the Covid Response Service or 111, so you would not need to consider moving to a different area. In any instances where returning doctors are needed to deliver face to face service provision, where possible, you will be sent to a Trust or GP practice you have worked with before or are already linked with. There might be rare occasions where we would ask if you would consider moving to a different area to cover an acute workforce shortage, but this would of course be at your discretion and discussed with you beforehand.

Yes – you will receive a fast track induction that will cover key mandatory training requirements, as well as more specific guidance, for example, on the management of coronavirus and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Some of this would be led by NHS employers. There would also be ward/departmental level induction. If you are a GP, the provider or practice where you are deployed will be responsible for providing you with the necessary induction and clinical supervision, dependent on your individual requirements.

Fast-track induction processes are being developed locally. This will include refreshing on old skills, such as death certification and prescribing, as well as new skills such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) training. If you are a GP, the provider or the practice where you are deployed will be responsible for providing you with the necessary induction.

As far as possible, we aim to match doctors to suitable specialties. In some situations, you may need to be placed in a different specialty according to service requirements. Where this is necessary, you will be supported adequately to take on these roles. Training and supervision will be given.

The GMC’s guidance should be followed as far as is practical in the circumstances, and provides a framework for ethical decision making in a wide range of situations.

If you change your mind and don’t want to work anymore you should tell your line manager. A professional approach would be expected – for example not leaving in the middle of a shift.

There are multiple possible roles that you might be expected to take on including (but not limited to): contributing to the clinical part of the Covid Response Service or NHS111 service, death certification, backfill for clinicians dealing with acute respiratory patients, helping with outpatient clinics (this could be via telephone), supporting Out of Hours provision, seeing Emergency Department patients with acute non-respiratory presentations, providing elective treatment on ‘cold’ sites, training other clinicians, delivering remote consultations. Psychological and pastoral support will be available in the roles you take on.

You are likely to be needed for a short time period but at this stage, the exact length is unpredictable. You are free to stop working at any point. Contracts are likely to be drawn up for six months with the possibility for extension.

Schools are still able to take children of key workers. If you come back to work, you would be given a letter to state that you are a key worker.

Yes. You will have a contract that reflects all the working hour protections, pay arrangements, annual leave entitlement and inductions that are provided to new FY1 doctors.

Identify checks will be required but this will be a fast-track process with your local HR department.

You may be placed on a rota but this will be discussed with the organisation you will be placed in locally.

If the epidemic worsens it is likely that doctors will have to work outside their normal field of practice. When deciding the safest and best course of action in the circumstances, doctors should consider factors including what is within their knowledge and skills; the protection and needs of all patients they have a responsibility towards; and minimising the risk of transmission and protecting their own health.

We do not want indemnity to be any barrier where changes to working arrangements need to be made, so the Government is planning to introduce additional indemnity coverage for clinical negligence liabilities that may arise when staff are working as part of the COVID-19 response or undertaking NHS work to backfill others, in the event that existing arrangements (CNST, CNSGP or individual arrangements) do not cover a particular activity.

Medical Defence Organisations (MDOs) advise that any doctor faced with clinical duties outside their clinical competence should explain their concerns clearly to someone with responsibility for providing the service to determine the safest way to proceed. If they have done so and still feel uncomfortable, their MDO can advise them further.

The GMC’s guidance should be followed as far as is practical in the circumstances, and provides a framework for ethical decision making in a wide range of situations.

The GMC acknowledges that doctors may be anxious about context not being taken into account when concerns are raised about their actions in very challenging circumstances. Where a concern is raised about a registered professional, it will always be considered on the specific facts of the case, taking into account the factors relevant to the environment in which the professional is working. The GMC would also take account of any relevant information about resources, guidelines, or protocols in place at the time.

While there are currently no reported medicine shortages as a result of COVID-19, doctors may face requests from patients for extra medication to stockpile. Medical Defence Organisations have advised doctors to resist pressure to overprescribe and to stick to existing policy on repeat prescribing unless they receive official advice stating otherwise.