When I first approached the RCGP to find out what they offered to doctors approaching retirement, I never imagined where my question would lead.
In 2019 I became the volunteer South London lead and national Chair of the newly established later career and retired members (LCARM) group. We aimed to set up networks in every Faculty area to increase awareness of opportunities for this group of doctors. We also wanted to improve the relevance of the appraisal process.
When the COVID-19 tsunami hit in 2020 my work became much more intense. Our LCARM group led the storm of protest at the bureaucratic delays which were stopping thousands of keen retired would-be returners from contributing.
I also realised what an opportunity COVID-19 offered to get the message across that retired GPs have many transferrable skills, and that expanding portfolio offers to later career GPs could enable many to stay working happily for longer clinically in different roles.
With many RCGP staff on furlough, I subscribed to Zoom and organised the national LCARM leads meetings that became easier to arrange and simplified communication. We've held many virtual events, open to all GPs, to network and stay in touch. Lobbying continues!
It has been demanding but very rewarding.
About the writer
Dr Mona Aquilina, LCARM Committee Chair.