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RCP welcomes NHS Emeritus pilot

The Royal College of Physicians has welcomed the launch of the NHS Emeritus pilot - a scheme encouraging retired doctors to return to the health service. 

First announced by NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard in June, the pilot will initially run for a year across England and help to bring down waits for elective care, but if successful has the potential to be expanded to cover other work areas.

It is expected Emeritus consultants will be able to start carrying out appointments from next month following the full registration process, which includes pre-employment checks and face-to-face interviews with NHS Professionals.

Dr Sarah Clarke, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “At a time when the NHS is facing unprecedented demands, paving a way for our recently retired experienced doctors to be able to contribute their skills again as emeritus consultants is a very welcome step forward.

“As outlined in RCP’s Later Careers Guidance, we know that more than a third of physicians who are not yet retired say they want to retire early, but almost 60% of physicians would delay retirement if they could work flexibly or reduce their hours, highlighting that integrated flexible working would greatly improve retention. We will closely follow the Emeritus pilot and very much hope that it offers a flexible opportunity for experienced physicians to once again provide vital care for their patients while importantly reducing waiting lists.”