As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country, our role as NHS frontline staff has never seemed more daunting. It goes without saying that the next few months with be enormously challenging. I suspect that soon, if not already, the balance of our work will lead to more general medicine and less gastroenterology.
Despite this, there are resources to support our specialty work that I hope you find useful. These include guidance on PPE, Endoscopy and immunosuppressed patients amongst others. They can be accessed via the BSG, ECCO, JAG and many other organisations. I would urge you to keep an eye on these as they will likely change given the dynamic nature of our current situation.
Looking after ourselves, so that we can continue to work safely throughout this crisis, is hugely important. If there is anything that you need help with, as your BSG reps, we will do our best to support you. The RCP has helpfully put together a page of frequently asked questions and the Academy of Medical Royal colleges have a page including lots of useful information. Understandably most deaneries have cancelled study leave and there are reports of trainees who are out of programme being asked to return to clinical work. This is entirely understandable as frontline services must be supported, however, it is hugely disruptive to trainees who are OOP. It is important that all trainees are treated fairly including reassurances from their deanery and TPDs of what will happen when normality returns.
In the face of such a daunting challenge, we must all work together with our physician colleagues, intensive care colleagues and multidisciplinary team colleagues. Although some things will have to be put on hold for the time being, they will return when this crisis resolves. Gastroenterologists comprise a significant part of the general medical take. As trainees, I’m sure that when we look back on this we will be proud of our contribution.
I hope you are all managing to stay well,
Philip Harvey BSG Trainees Section Chair
Elizabeth Ratcliffe, BSG Trainees Section Chair Elect