Restarting planned surgery in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

1 May 2020

Restarting planned surgery in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

Produced with our partners, this important document is now available on the joint hub.

As we try to start reintroducing services it is important to ensure that critical care has capacity to support this, not just in terms of physical space but adequate staffing levels that are sustainable in the medium term. There needs to be a balance between returning to GPICS compliant critical care services and restoring normal activity. NHS England’s Adult critical care novel coronavirus (COVID-19) staffing framework provides a structure for managing critical care when our expanded capacity is quadruple the baseline.

A second document, Coronavirus: principles for increasing the nursing workforce in response to exceptional increased demand in adult critical care, outlines a phased approach to nurse staffing. In reference to the strategy document, any critical care unit that is using a phase 3 or 4 staffing model, or is more than double its baseline capacity, would be red. If using phase 2 and/or is at double baseline capacity the unit would be amber. If returned to pre-pandemic staffing levels or capacity then it would be green. This is line with what we have defined in our joint statement with the British Association of Critical Care Nurses.

Crucially, as the Faculty has been stating in all senior NHS briefings and in our media work, staff are the central resource for our patients. Our position statement on sustainable working patterns during COVID-19 pandemic, which covers senior doctors, Advanced Critical Care Practitioners and Critical Care Pharmacists, provides more information on this important area.


Dr Alison Pittard

Dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine