Between 30 June - 05 July 2020, the College conducted a survey to assess its members' views on the current preparedness to restart planned services.
- 44% of respondents are not confident in their hospital’s ability to provide planned surgery safely while managing COVID-19 demand during future surges.
- Nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) have, to some extent during the last month, suffered mental distress because of additional work related stress due to COVID-19.
- Nearly nine in ten trainees (89%) strongly agree that the pandemic is affecting their training opportunities, career and professional development.
- NHS Improvement should publish a new People Plan, with the investment and teeth needed to support staff welfare and wellbeing, build resilience and address inequality.
- NHS Improvement should identify, train and maintain the skills of cross-specialty ‘reservists’ who can support COVID-19 surges, and escalation plans should rapidly be made, with the support of the Medical Royal Colleges.
- The Government should make a commitment to additional, and sustainable, investment in the resources, facilities and staff needed to support a return to pre-COVID-19 activity.
- Hospitals and trusts may need to cohort specialist surgery on a regional basis; and there is merit in a ‘clean hospital’ approach. Other locations for managing planned surgery or COVID-19 care should be considered, with sufficient resources that are separate from those within the NHS.
- Efforts should be made to support hospitals in ensuring that sufficient numbers of anaesthetic, theatre, perioperative care and ward staff are free to return to their routine work activities.
- A transparent, flexible, approach to re-scheduling assessments and teaching should be developed, with clear guidance on how missed learning opportunities will be delivered.