RCSEd welcomes £160m of funding towards tackling the impact of COVID on elective care

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17 May 2021

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh welcomes the £160million of funding towards tackling the impact of Covid on elective care. RCSEd President, Professor Michael Griffin, said:

The backlog of elective care, in particular non-urgent surgery, is now at its worst level since records began. In addition, we have a ‘hidden’ waiting list of people with serious illnesses affected by the delay in diagnostics or who have kept away from GP’s surgeries because of the pandemic. This funding is therefore urgently needed.

We are pleased to hear of some of the innovations that will be done to try and alleviate the backlog as quickly as possible. We have been calling for using Covid-free “surgical hubs” to tackle the surgery backlog, so are glad that these are part of these plans.

However, we wish to sound a note of caution on weekend clinics as they can pile additional workloads on an already overly stretched and traumatised workforce. Further, whilst the private sector has an important role in providing facilities and capacity to help reduce the backlog, as surgeons work across both sectors we need to be mindful of the continued workforce pressures.

Backlogs were building before the pandemic hit. Therefore, whilst we welcome this new funding warmly, we urge the government to urgently address the staff shortages which are the prime limiting factor on recovery. This means not only training and recruiting more surgeons and surgical staff, but also stemming the loss of trained clinicians to burnout, stress, poor workplace culture and bullying.


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