Working to support the pandemic response

If you have been given temporary emergency registration this means that you can work as a doctor to support the pandemic response. You might have been working since the beginning of the pandemic, or you may now be considering a return to practice, for example, to contribute to the vaccination programme. Whatever your circumstances, we understand that you may have questions about using this type of registration.

The health services across the UK are responsible for how and where doctors are asked to practise, but you may find the following information and advice helpful.

What can you do with temporary emergency registration?

You should only use this registration to support the response to the pandemic. You can carry out activities including:

  • treating coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, including NHS patients treated in independent sector organisations
  • backfilling in routine NHS clinical, or commissioned, services for colleagues who have been moved to treat coronavirus patients
  • working flexibly in routine NHS clinical, or commissioned, services to clear backlogs created by the pandemic
  • working in other roles linked to the pandemic including track and trace, NHS111 services or the vaccination programme.

If you want return to work in areas that aren’t related to the pandemic, including private practice or formal training posts, you should apply to restore your routine full registration and licence.

Working using your temporary emergency registration

To find out about the types of roles that might be available to those holding temporary emergency registration or licence, please contact the relevant organisation for the country you’re interested in working in:

If you’ve already volunteered to return to work but haven’t heard anything, please contact the health service in the country you live in for an update on any previous enquiry.

As the UK regulator of doctors, we’re responsible for your registration. We don’t have a role in deployment, so we won’t be able to help with any enquiries about this. 

Your own health and wellbeing

Returning to work to support the pandemic response is a personal choice. It’s likely that you’ll want to consider many issues before deciding what to do. If you are in an at risk group, you may find it helpful to consider the UK government’s guidance.

We recognise that all healthcare professionals are working under huge pressure. It’s important that you consider your own health and wellbeing if you choose to work in support of the pandemic response. Our wellbeing webpages signpost to sources of support and advice for the profession.

Practising in challenging circumstances

If you return to work in support of the pandemic response, you should follow our ethical guidance for doctors as far as is practical in the circumstances. Our professional standards for doctors provide a framework for ethical decision making in a wide range of situations.

Our coronavirus information and advice webpages for doctors answers frequently asked questions about practising during an emergency.