In a recent message to BSG trainees about training and training challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, I referenced an academic text entitled ‘The World Turned Upside Down’. It’s an illuminating treatise on the Levellers, the Ranters and the Fifth Monarchists of the mid 17th century, for whom fixed assumptions and rules became irrelevant and all normal points of reference, no longer applied: parallels perhaps with the world we find ourselves in this week.
The loss of a ‘compass of normality’ creates uncertainty in lockdown. The medical unknowns, the timing and challenges of producing a vaccine, the unpredictable trial outcomes for COVID specific treatments, all add to the uncertainty of what the releasing of lockdown will mean at this stage of the pandemic in the UK. The need to maintain ‘COVID- safe’ practice in our hospitals and in our lives, however, is and will be a reality for the medium to longer term.
As difficult as it is to maintain the momentum, recognising there is a general fatigue and frustration with the limitations of our personal and professional lives, adherence to good infection control practices, and working within the safe principles of screening, testing and PPE usage in our daily clinical practice, remains the correct approach. The basics of infection control cannot be emphasised enough, nor the need for a sound, scientifically credible exit strategy from lockdown.
For our specialty, a co-ordinated approach to creating a research register for relevant COVID-19 research has been started, led by BSG Research Chair Ramesh Arasaradnam and individual clinical research groups have begun prioritising approaches to systematic data collection and analysis (Endoscopy and IBD).
The BSG is continuing to work to provide as much pragmatic guidance relevant to specialty practice as possible and to develop data validation and evaluation to support the new ways of working. Listed below are some of the resources available to you via the BSG website.
The BSG Webinar ‘Life on the New Frontier”: available to view in full or
• Read the FAQs following the webinar discussions
• BSG survey on COVID-19 – your responses summarised
• FG podcast on restarting endoscopy services
• A review of virtual and new consultation practices to support patient care during COVID-19 and beyond
• Further reassessment of ‘risk for vulnerable patient groups’ – what, if anything, do we need to change?
• Further guidance updates – viral hepatitis and coeliac disease
• A BSG webinar series
• Guidance from BSG-BASL on points of practice for the COVID-19 environment
• Marking the week of the deferred BSG Annual Meeting, the BSG Charity AGM will still take place on Monday, June 15th. All BSG members are encouraged to attend virtually and details will be circulated next week
Keep well and enjoy some socially distanced sunshine.