Getting retired doctors back to work

One of the ideas to address a likely forthcoming workforce crisis is that of getting retired doctors back to work. The Victorian manifestation of this idea is not novel. Boris Johnson floated the same idea in the UK

It is not a simple task. Maintaining medical registration has become more complex and costly in the last 2 decades.

Once upon a time, doctors could maintain a sort of inactive registration through which they could retain prescribing and referral rights. This was removed in 2003

The State and Commonwealth Governments now have no easy way to contact let alone recruit these practitioners. The roadblocks to them working again include

  • No current registration and no easy and quick method to re-verify and re-credential original training
  • Current standards do not allow doctors out of practice for more than 12 months to practice without an approved plan
  • Medical practitioners need by law to participate in Continuous Professional Development. These programs are administered by the relevant colleges. It is near certain that retired doctors would have allowed these memberships to lapse as membership is very expensive
  • Doctors who have retired and triggered the Run Off Cover indemnity scheme find it very costly and difficult to regain indemnity insurance

In short, although it is possible to re-recruit retired doctors to the workforce, it is something that requires careful thought and planning and involvement of many departments and organisations.

If it is a serious suggestion, the time to enact it is now.