Response to BMA’s report into doctors’ experiences in the pandemic

Published 19/05/2022
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The British Medical Association has published the first two in a series of five reports detailing doctors’ views and experiences of the pandemic.

The reports, How well-protected was the medical profession from COVID-19? and The impact of the pandemic on the medical profession contain first-hand accounts of the physical and psychological strain experiences by doctors, both during the height of the pandemic and in the months afterwards.

Dr Fiona Donald, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, said:

"These reports make for stark reading, and I recognise many of the findings from my own experiences and from talking to our fellows and members over the past few years. Anaesthetists and SAS doctors, whether working to support emergency services or redeployed to intensive care units, have paid a high price physically and psychologically throughout the pandemic as they put others first and their own lives. families and careers second.

"What we need to do now is to focus on being ready to address our new challenges by plugging the UK's 1,400 shortfall of anaesthetists and putting in place effective measures to support training and wellbeing. This will help to alleviate the enormous pressure many still feel, tackle the NHS waiting list backlog and provide opportunities for training to be continued. The BMA is right to point out that preparation is key - this is as much to ensure we are ready for future emergencies as it is to address current workloads

Dr Alison Pittard, Dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, said:

"Intensivists and anaesthetists were at the forefront throughout the pandemic, and my colleagues, alongside many other healthcare workers, across the UK placed their own health and wellbeing to one side in order to be able to look after those patients in hospital who were most affected by Covid.

"We would of course do it again should the need arise, but the impact on wellbeing, on the ability of doctors in training to complete their training, and on doctors' lives and families should not be underestimated and will be felt for many years."