Conservative MP returns to the NHS to help the fight against coronavirus

Conservative MP returns to the NHS to help the fight against coronavirus as letters are sent to 65,000 retired medics asking them to come back

  • Maria Caulfield is the Conservative MP for Lewes constituency in East Susse
  • Ms Caulfield  has kept her nursing registration since she became an MP in 2015
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock called for retired NHS workers to come back 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

A Tory MP is returning to the NHS as a nurse to help under-pressure hospitals in their fight against coronavirus.

Maria Caulfield said ‘we desperately need people’ as she announced she would work as a nurse alongside her political role.

She made the pledge after the government called on retired health professionals to offer support.

The Government said letters are being sent to more than 65,000 retired medics in England and Wales asking them to return to the NHS.

Maria Caulfield has kept her nursing registration since she became an MP in 2015

Speaking yesterday morning (FRI), Ms Caulfield said: ‘I have kept my nursing registration since I became an MP in 2015.’ 

She said she was returning to nursing because ‘the NHS will be getting unprecedented numbers of patients needing care, but also because staff are liable to get sick themselves’.

‘They can only go at 110 per cent pace for so long and will need breaks themselves’, she said.

Ms Caulfield, who used to work at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Brompton, is the MP for Lewes in East Sussex.

The MP had continued to do occasional shift work as a nurse after she was elected in 2015.

She will be working on the front line in time for night shifts, weekends and during Parliamentary recess.

Her announcement follows a call from Health Secretary Matt Hancock for doctors and nurses who have recently left the NHS to return to help fight Covid-19.

Ms Caulfield said: ‘I am very happy to use that time to help those who are ill during this time.

‘I have got all my training for that hospital. I have still got that uniform.

‘For me it’s very easy to get back into the swing of things, others will need more help to do that.’ 

Ms Caulfield, who returned to the House of Commons with a majority of 2,437 in December’s general election, said: ‘It’s important to help out if you can.

‘With schools closed it’s putting a lot of pressure on the NHS.

‘If one member of their family goes into self-isolation they all have to now, so that’s taking people out of the system.’ 

She has kept in contact with former colleagues in the NHS, who she says are working long hours.

With the coronavirus crisis escalating every day, Ms Caulfield said she was granted an exception from the ministerial code to go back to work.

She said Prime Minister Boris Johnson was ‘very supportive’ of her decision.

Welcoming Ms Caulfield’s announcement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Twitter: ‘Thank you Maria for responding to the call.

‘The country needs the NHS, and the NHS needs you and other trained staff on the front line.’

Miss Caulfield is not the only MP dusting off her scrubs to battle coronavirus.

Tooting MP and Labour Deputy leadership candidate Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, who is an A&E doctor, said she would be returning to her hospital’s emergency department at the weekend.

Kieran Mullan, the recently elected Crewe & Nantwich MP and an emergency medicine doctor, and James Davies, a GP who now represents Vale of Clwyd are also both returning to the frontline to help fight the virus.