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Views And Reviews

A new deal for surgery: but what does it really mean?

BMJ 2021; 373 doi: (Published 14 June 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1499
  1. Roopa McCrossan, chair, locum consultant anaesthetist12,
  2. Clara Munro, editorial registrar, higher specialty trainee in general surgery3
  1. 1Association of Anaesthetists Trainee Committee, UK
  2. 2Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3The BMJ
  1. cmunro{at}

A plan to tackle the waiting list is welcome, but a guarantee to provide training for a workforce to enact the plan is the essential next step

The covid-19 pandemic has caused the largest ever waiting list for NHS treatment, with 4.95 million people waiting—430 000 of those for over a year.1 The Royal College of Surgeons of England are calling for action with their 12 point plan, a “new deal” to support the recovery of elective surgical services. The Royal College of Surgeons have requested £1bn (€1.16bn; $1.42bn) per year to enable trusts to set up “clean” elective surgery hubs using existing hospitals where there would be no interruptions to elective surgical services from further pandemic surges or winter bed pressures. While the plan is welcome, some may be sceptical about how it will be actualised until there is a hard commitment to the changes required to carry it out.

The pandemic has demonstrated the greatest resource of the NHS is its staff. Many of those redeployed to intensive care during the surge were theatre staff, who have felt the pressure, however, with physical and mental health problems now coming to the fore. Staff are exhausted and …

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