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Retired doctors may be recalled during a flu pandemic

The GMC issues revised practice guidance in case of flu alert

OnMedica Staff

Monday, 02 March 2009

Retired doctors will be asked to return to work, should Britain suffer a flu pandemic.

This requirement is listed in a revised version of the GMC’s Good Medical Practice Guidance for doctors for use should the chief medical officer announce a UK Level 3 flu pandemic alert.

In this version some of the usual requirements – such as participating in appraisal and performance review - have been lifted. Other requirements, such as the duties to act honestly, are unchanged.

The GMC has said that in the event of a pandemic, doctors may be asked to work outside their normal scope of practice, and some doctors who have retired, or who are not working in the profession, may be asked to return to work.

“We strongly encourage doctors to respond positively to such requests. Arrangements are being made to ensure that the GMC can register doctors promptly, where that is appropriate. Although it will be necessary to suspend some routine health care services in a pandemic, some patients may be in the course of treatment, or may become ill or injured for other reasons during a pandemic. It is important that, as far as possible, care is provided to these patients, as well as to those with influenza,” states the organisation.

The GMC notes that compromises on the normal high standards of practice in the UK may need to be made should Britain suffer a flu pandemic but says that patients should not be put at unnecessary risk.

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