Statement on COVID-19 and its effect on surgical training

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13 Mar 2020

Message from the Trainees' Committee Chair, David Riding

Today’s intercollegiate statement confirming the postponement of all examinations, courses and other educational events is symptomatic of the effect the COVID-19 pandemic will have on UK healthcare and wider society. The impact on the provision of surgical care is likely to be severe, with elective surgery and outpatient clinics cancelled, operating theatres requisitioned by critical care teams, and surgeons of all grades reallocated to provide emergency care to inpatients across the hospital.


In this context the provision of usual surgical training may not be possible, and whilst we acknowledge this will be frustrating we trust our colleagues to pull together to deploy their considerable expertise for the benefit of all patients. Skills in emergency medicine, critical care, medical ethics, teamworking and communication, public health, epidemiology, and self-care will all be needed and enhanced by this experience, and will make us better surgeons with broader experience. The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh will continue to represent the interests of its Members and Fellows to government and health service leaders, and will continue to communicate policy decisions as quickly as possible. We will also continue to offer education and training via our webinar series and other online resources. The Trainees’ Committee will continue to advocate for those we represent, and we encourage all trainees to contact us with any concerns or requests for help.


COVID-19 is likely to cause significant disruption to our professional and personal lives, causing anxiety, fear and uncertainty. However, we know that UK surgical trainees are a talented, dedicated and compassionate group of doctors who will continue to offer world class treatment to their patients. We will emerge from this pandemic with a depth and breadth of experience that will serve us well throughout our careers. Please prioritise your own health and let us know how we can help; the Trainees’ Committee and the College are here to support you.



Please find a link to ASiT and The 15 Speciality Associations Joint Letter to Surgical Trainees: COVID-19; The Implications for surgical trainees in the delivery of care and training (here).


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