NHS staff shortages during a protracted national medical emergency can be solved by establishing, and constantly maintaining, a national database of Volunteer Medical Professionals (VMP) who would be recalled and deployed as, and if, required. (‘Medical professional’ for these purposes is one who needs to register in order to practice.) The database will comprise VMPs upon retirement or when they leave their medical occupation before retirement. VMPs would remain on the database for five years, extendable by request. This would be a purely voluntary scheme – akin to a medical TAVR.
Below is a schema (which is not exhaustive) for the above.
1. The database and governance:
a. The database to be overseen by a Minister of State, who is to ensure bureaucracy is minimised;
b. Administration, as directed by the Minister, to be undertaken at Regional NHS level with a named individual as ‘Registrar’ who will report to the Minister.
2. The Volunteer Medical Professional:
a. Is to register personally as a VMP to their Regional NHS unit;
b. Is to furnish fully all details required by the Registrar, and to report any changes immediately;
c. Is to ensure their Disclosure and Barring Service certificate is current at all times;
d. Where applicable the VMP must inform their employer of their VMP status.
3. The employer (if applicable):
a. Should allow such time off as VMP duties demand;
b. Should continue to pay the employee whilst they are on VMP duties.
4. VMP subsistence:
a. It is assumed the VMP will be deployed within their NHS Region. Motor mileage will be paid as per NHS staff with car parking free on site;
b. If the VMP is recalled to a place in excess of fifty miles from their home, the NHS hospital or organisation in which they are employed is to arrange accommodation and subsistence, if required.
For each FULL year after registration the VMP to receive £500 tax free, or £750 if the VMP chooses to have the award paid to a nominated charity.