Retired doctors are set to be given an option to rejoin the NHS and help cut waiting lists and tackle the backlog, the health service has announced.
The new initiative will come into action from the autumn with ex-staff being able register on a digital platform and offer their services to NHS trusts across England.
NHS England say the signed-up retirees will be deployed to deliver outpatient appointments, whether that be virtually or in person.
The move comes with figures showing more than 80% of patients on the waiting lists still need an outpatient appointment as the NHS looks for a viable alternative to costly agency staff while also enabling former consultants a way back into the sector with more flexibility.
Speaking at NHS ConfedExpo, NHS England’s chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, described the platform as an “innovative example” of how the health service is “constantly adapting” its working practices to benefit patients.
“Using this digital tool will help us to match patients with retired doctors who we know are keen to stay working in a flexible way so they can keep caring for patients, as well as allowing us to expand capacity to see even more patients – and faster,” said Pritchard.
Local health systems will be able to select the clinicians whose skillset and availability best suits their requirements.
Health secretary Steve Barclay added: “Technology is transforming the NHS, and this digital platform will ensure that more patients receive the highest quality care from experienced consultants when and where they need it.”
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