RCSEd calls for urgent investment and reform to help tackle the backlog of cases caused by COVID-19

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10 Jun 2021

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh views the publication of new waiting times data as evidence that investment and reform is urgently needed to tackle the backlog of cases caused by COVID-19.


RCSEd President, Professor Mike Griffin, said:

“It is concerning, if not unexpected, to see the waiting list for patients to start hospital treatment is over 5million. We knew that the pausing of elective care in order to deal with the pandemic would lead to a large backlog, on top of the existing pressures already on the NHS before the virus hit.

“It is absolutely vital that significant investment in training and equipment is delivered by the government in order to meet this challenge, which comes on top of demographic trends which will see more and more people requiring hospital treatment in the coming decade.  

“We have called for ending the co-location of acute and elective diagnostic services – as called for in the review conducted by Sir Mike Richards. We have also supported the call of the Royal College of Physicians of London to double the number of medical school places to meet the growing medical needs of the country. We do so again today.

“Further, we must protect our existing workforce as well as expand it in order to meet this challenge. 68.5% of doctors surrendering their medical license do so for reasons of stress, burnout, poor workplace culture or bullying. 7% of doctors surrender their license because of stress within 3 years of qualifying. There are similar stories for nurses, diagnostic, support and administration staff. Not only do staff shortages mean fewer people to meet the backlog, it also increases the pressure on the remaining workforce, exacerbating the problems of stress and burnout. This is the greatest challenge not only to dealing with the backlog, but to the NHS as a whole, and must be urgently addressed.”


About The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

  • RCSEd was first incorporated as the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1505 and is based in Edinburgh and Birmingham. 
  • It is one of the oldest surgical corporations in the world with a global membership of more than 30,000, including 15,000 members in the UK. 
  • The College also has a significant worldwide presence with members in over 100 countries. 
  • The College promotes the highest standards of surgical and dental practice through education, training and examinations, its liaison with external medical bodies and representation of the modern surgical and dental workforce. 
  • The College has seven faculties: The Faculty of Dental Surgery, The Faculty of Surgical Trainers, The Faculty of Dental Trainers, The Faculty of Perioperative Care, The Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care, The Faculty of Remote, Rural and Humanitarian Healthcare and the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine.
  • It is also home to the UK’s only Faculty of Surgical Trainers, open to all those with an interest in surgical training regardless of College affiliation. 
  • Find RCSEd at www.rcsed.ac.uk, on Twitter, on Facebook, and Instagram

Issued by tigerbond on behalf of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. For further information, please contact lisa.boyle@tigerbond.com or 07730415019  

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