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Cloud platform supports consultants returning to NHS


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Doctor holding tablet computer with floating cloud symbol
Image source: Mis

NHS England has launched a cloud platform to support its effort to encourage retired consultant doctors to return to the health service.

It said the platform can link those who have recently retired and still hold a licence with secondary care providers that need help in reducing their waiting lists.

The launch is part of the NHS Emeritus pilot scheme, which was announced in June to bring down waiting lists in elective care. The scheme will initially run for a year and has the potential to be expanded into other work areas.

The platform works through healthcare providers uploading the activity they would like supported, which could cover areas such as outpatient appointments, requests for specialist advice and support in education and training.

The Emeritus consultants express their interest in carrying out the work and the providers choose the one whose skillset and availability is the best match for the appointments they need covered.

Remote consultations

The platform provides for any following consultations to be conducted remotely, which means the consultants could be based anywhere in England.

NHS England said this will provide an alternative to hospitals having to use agency staff and enable recently retired consultants to return to work with a flexible approach.

It added that workforce data shows that about 1,000 consultants retire from the health service each year.

Health Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “Returning consultants will bring invaluable experience and knowledge, and the new digital platform will match highly skilled consultants with the NHS trusts that require their expertise, providing high quality care and alleviating pressures on high demand areas.

“This will help us cut waiting lists – one of the Government’s five priorities.”

All statutory pre-employment checks and statutory training are carried out before consultants become fully registered on the platform.

Stella Vig, NHS national clinical director for elective care, commented: “It’s a simple concept, but one that we hope will benefit everyone taking part – and we envisage that this is just the beginning, with the potential to broaden NHS Emeritus out to a wider cohort and to include different types of work in the future, which could benefit thousands of patients across the country.”

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