RCSEd: COVID-19 Daily Blog
23 March 2020
Dear Members, Fellows and All,
These are truly difficult times for our Health Service and our country and, indeed, the rest of the world. We are thinking about all of our Members and Fellows and their dependents and their patients all over the world in more challenging circumstances. Particularly in the healthcare environment, our surgeons and teams, nurses, perioperative practitioners and trainees are facing challenges that none of us felt were likely in our lifetime.
Your concerns and your worries need to be relayed through to us so that we can truly support you during this crisis. I will do everything I can to represent your views and worries on a daily basis to our medical officers and our governments.
Once the four Colleges issued a joint statement postponing all examinations, courses, Diploma Ceremonies and meetings, to a certain extent I thought that the work of the College and myself as President, my Office Bearers and Council, would be reduced somewhat. How wrong I could be. The commitment to keep our Members and Fellows informed, the importance of getting the right messages over not just to you but to the press and the wider public have taken a lot of time for all of us. We are desperately trying to keep up to date on our website with all the different changes that affect our trainees, our perioperative practitioners, our trainers and, of course, our Members and Fellows. Our College staff have been magnificent. The College has moved to working from home alongside Government guidance but there are a few individuals including myself in isolated circumstances within the College. The College therefore continues to function and has to.
Our Communications Department are, for the most part, working from home and on them lies a huge burden. Keeping the media, the press and all of you informed. We are particularly proud of our Senior Fellows who have contributed to making this College what it is today.
I have been in touch with them to make sure they are aware of the latest advice about keeping safe, maintaining social distance and, in some cases, isolation. We are providing IT back up and help and a phone line for support. We have to consider those who have recently retired who are being asked to return to work. I will be making absolutely sure that such retired surgeons will have their health protected.
We are constantly keeping our website up to date with the latest guidance on the management of cancer patients and we include all the advice from our Specialty Associations with regard to keeping safe and the management of our patients. The College premises at present are an unusual environment being now so quiet. There are huge challenges facing us all working from home and keeping in touch with our Fellowship and keeping up to date with the daily changes that this viral outbreak causes.
I have been uplifted by the documents produced by the Association of Surgeons in Training, our own Trainees Committee and many other Trainee organisations who have taken such a positive approach to the crisis. There have been hardly any expressions of concern about their own training, only that of the patient population. This really does bring the best out of every one. Care, compassion and concern is in abundance and I am pleased to say selfishness has been banished. Please all keep in touch with me, let you know your concerns and I will pass them on to Government and senior medical colleagues. Please join in our webinar “helping surgeons to understand the challenges of COVID-19” on Tuesday evening and we shall chat tomorrow.
Professor Michael Griffin, President RCSEd