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Northern Ireland statement on recovery planning

01 May 2020

Today the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) published the results of a survey of 94 surgeons and trainees in Northern Ireland which showed that:
  • 77% believed they had an adequate supply of PPE in their Trust, enabling them to do their job safely
  • 71% reported no shortages in PPE in the last 2 weeks
  • 76% reported that urgent and emergency surgery had been maintained in their workplace

The survey came as the RCS published new guidance for the recovery of surgical services to help manage the backlog of elective operations during and after the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the College warned that this is not the time to soften the lockdown.

Commenting, Mark Taylor, RCS Northern Ireland Director said:

“Now is not the time to relax the criteria for the lockdown as this could put staff at risk and cost more lives. Health and social care staff in Northern Ireland have done an amazing job, stepping into new roles, supporting each other, working above and beyond what anyone could ask of them.

“The lockdown has undoubtedly saved lives and stopped the NHS from being overwhelmed. While managing coronavirus has rightly been our focus, we need now to help those people who have had their surgery delayed. We know that there are many people waiting for critical surgery. Our new guidance provides a framework to help manage the backlog of elective operations and re-start surgery safely.

“Our most recent survey of surgeons and trainees in Northern Ireland, shows that there have been improvements in PPE supply but there are still limitations on our ability to undertake urgent surgery.  We need to continue to prioritise urgent surgery, and be certain that front-line staff have the equipment they need to keep them safe, before resuming elective care.

“We welcomed the opportunity to share our guidance on resuming elective care services with the Minister earlier this week. Re-engaging our services requires a huge team effort and we look forward to working closely with the Minister, his team and our colleagues across Health and Social Care as we step into the next phase.




Notes to editors

  1. The Royal College of Surgeons is a professional membership organisation and registered charity which exists to advance surgical standards and surgical care.
  2. For more information please contact RCS press office or tel. 07980926412.
  3. The RCS Northern Ireland survey fieldwork ran from 23 April to 28 April 2020. The Northern Ireland survey was completed by 94 surgeons and surgical trainees. Data tables available on request.

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