Digital platform to link recently-retired consultants with providers in need

NHS England has announced the development of a cloud-based platform designed to link recently-retired consultants who still hold a license to practise with secondary care providers requiring additional help for their waiting lists, as part of the Emeritus pilot scheme.

Through the platform, consultants will be able to express interest in specific listings, before providers choose those who represent the best match in terms of skillset and availability. Through the platform, consultants carrying out remote consultations could be based at any location in England, with NHSE sharing a hope that this “can help those hospitals in areas with workforce shortages in a particular specialty, higher demand for services, or more remote areas where travel is difficult for patients.”

It is hoped that as well as helping reduce elective care waiting lists, this initiative will also provide consultants with a way to come back to work more flexibly.

The Emeritus scheme will initially run for a year with the potential to be expanded, if successful, to cover other areas of work. Consultants are expected to begin taking appointments from February.

Stella Vig, NHS national clinical director for elective care, shared a hope that “this is just the beginning”, with the scheme bearing “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.”

In related news, the NHS England board met on 5 December to discuss operational and financial performance, to provide an update on the Federated Data Platform, and the role of tech in the delivery of the primary care access recovery plan.

NHS England also penned a letter to NHS trusts, ICBs and regional directors at the end of 2023, outlining updates on planning for 2024/25. The letter states that although expectations and priorities for 2024/25 will not be published until later in the new year; “initial planning returns will be expected by the end of February” from providers.