Doctors warned that gruelling winter means they must be flexible
The second wave of Covid-19 will be gruelling with increased pressure prolonged throughout the winter, UK doctors have been warned.
The chief medical officers of Northern Ireland, England, Scotlandand Wales - along with the NHS, the General Medical Council and the medical royal colleges - have written to doctors urging them to be flexible during the second wave, which may require them to work in clinical areas outside their usual practice.
The letter, tweeted by England’s CMO, Professor Chris Whitty, said the second Covid wave “may well be prolonged throughout the winter period, with wide local variation and fluctuation in cases, requiring a sustained response from the whole profession.
“This will be gruelling professionally and personally.”
The letter to doctors says pressure will inevitably be exacerbated by staff shortages due to sickness or caring responsibilities, and assures them that regulators will take into account the need for temporary changes to practice.
Healthcare professionals will have to be flexible, which “may entail working in unfamiliar circumstances or surroundings, or working in clinical areas outside of their usual practice” which could be stressful.
All doctors are expected to follow GMC guidance and hospitals, trusts and healthcare leaders “must bear in mind that clinicians may need to depart, possibly significantly, from established procedures in order to care for patients in the highly challenging circumstances of the epidemic”.
The letter says healthcare professional regulators including the GMC “have committed to take into account factors relevant to the environment in which the professional is working, including relevant information about resources, guidelines and protocols in place at the time”.
A letter from the CMOs, GMC, Medical Royal Colleges & NHS to UK doctors.— Professor Chris Whitty (@CMO_England) November 11, 2020
There has been a remarkable, ongoing response from the profession to COVID. The second wave will be challenging - your continuing work to reduce COVID and non-COVID harm is massively appreciated. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/yNLqnbjrND