A letter to hospital trusts urges staff across the workforce considering retirement to stay and assist efforts to clear the backlog of long-waiting patients

NHS England website

In a letter to hospital trusts, NHS England and NHS Improvement has asked staff across the workforce considering retirement to stay and assist efforts to clear the backlog of long-waiting patients. The measures proposed include:

  • asking recently retired staff across the workforce to return to support elective and educational recovery
  • encouraging individuals considering retirement to return to support and educate the wider elective recovery workforce.

The letter states that the measures should not prevent staff from taking annual leave, having the necessary breaks, or accessing health and wellbeing support when needed. However, the letter also acknowledges that challenges related to COVID-19 continue to affect staff and services, and that ‘restoring and increasing elective activity in the year ahead, and enabling our workforce to recover, is going to require a number of high impact actions.’

Some anticipate that the pleas will not be well received by healthcare professionals. In an interview with the i newspaper, GP Dr Jackie Applebee, who is also Chair of the doctors’ branch of the trade union Unite, said that ‘utterly unbearable’ working conditions would probably deter older members of staff from delaying their retirement. Dr Applebee cited the lack of a clear workforce plan as a contributory factor: ‘I think some retiring doctors will heed the call, but the vast majority won’t … it’s in the Government’s hands to show they’ve got a plan to … restore the workforce … otherwise, we could all stay on until we’re 70, but what would be different?’

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Lead image: chrisdorney/stock.adobe.com

Image 1: chrisdorney/stock.adobe.com