The NHS has launched a back-to-work scheme for retired doctors to try to cut waiting lists.

Bosses hope to attract the consultants with the offer of flexible hours and remote working.

The NHS Emeritus pilot scheme will initially run for a year across England to help bring down waits for elective care only. It will be expanded to other types of care if successful, NHS England said.

Emeritus consultants – those who have retired but retain their titles – will start carrying out appointments from next month.

The NHS Emeritus pilot scheme will initially run for a year across England to help bring down waits for elective care only. Pictured: General view on staff on a NHS hospital ward

The NHS Emeritus pilot scheme will initially run for a year across England to help bring down waits for elective care only. Pictured: General view on staff on a NHS hospital ward

About 1,000 consultants leave the NHS for retirement each year. A website has been set up to link eligible doctors with hospitals

About 1,000 consultants leave the NHS for retirement each year. A website has been set up to link eligible doctors with hospitals

About 1,000 consultants leave the NHS for retirement each year. A website has been set up to link eligible doctors with hospitals.

Trusts upload requirements such as outpatient appointments, specialist advice requests and education and training support, and then select from interested consultants.

Appointments are scheduled and arranged with patients either in-person or remotely.

Trusts upload requirements such as outpatient appointments, specialist advice requests and education and training support, and then select from interested consultants

Trusts upload requirements such as outpatient appointments, specialist advice requests and education and training support, and then select from interested consultants

Appointments are scheduled and arranged with patients either in-person or remotely

Appointments are scheduled and arranged with patients either in-person or remotely

It has the potential to help hospitals in areas with workforce shortages in a particular specialty. The NHS waiting list stood at 7.6million in November, down from 7.7million in October.

Stella Vig, national clinical director for elective care at NHS England, said: ‘It’s a simple concept, but one that we hope will benefit everyone taking part.’

Health minister Andrew Stephenson said: ‘Returning consultants will bring invaluable experience and knowledge.’

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