FICM, RCoA and the Association of Anaesthetists jointly designated a Core Participant in the UK COVID-19 Inquiry

Published 24/02/2023

The Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM), the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA), and the Association of Anaesthetists are pleased to announce that we have been successful in our joint application to be a Core Participant in Module 3 of the UK COVID-19 Inquiry.

We applied for Core Participant status to represent our members, who comprise over 24,000 doctors and healthcare workers who played a direct and significant role in the UK’s response to the pandemic. Module 3 of the Inquiry is UK-wide and will examine the impact of the pandemic on healthcare systems, patients and health care workers. Together, our organisations are expertly placed to shape and inform that process, drawing on the extensive data and member testimony we collected at the time.

As a Core Participant, we will have a formal role in the Inquiry, as defined by legislation, and have special rights in the process. These rights include receiving privileged access to documentation, being represented and making legal submissions, suggesting lines of inquiry and receiving advance notice of the Inquiry’s report.

During the pandemic, intensive care staff were instrumental in establishing new intensive care units (ICUs) to meet the unprecedented need, increasing the number of ICU beds by almost 50%. Many anaesthetists – including those in training – joined intensive care colleagues in caring for patients who were most seriously ill. The redeployment of anaesthetists in this way, while essential to respond to the crisis, contributed to the current unprecedented backlog of elective surgery.

The excessive workload of our members – and its traumatic nature – during the pandemic has caused many of them harm, from which they have not had the time or adequate support to recover. We believe it is vital that doctors and healthcare staff who were working in these pivotal roles during the pandemic have their voices heard at the Inquiry and we intend to ensure they do through our role as a Core Participant. When we have more details of the way in which the Inquiry will work, we will let members know how they may be able to contribute further to our evidence-giving.  

Dr Daniele Bryden, Dean, Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine
Dr Matthew Davies, President, Association of Anaesthetists
Dr Fiona Donald, President, Royal College of Anaesthetists