15 March 2020 (Last updated: 16 Mar 2020 13:01)
The BAAPS has created a policy statement to provide guidance to surgeon members in response to the challenge of COVID-19.
At this time, it is clear that the United Kingdom is facing an unprecedented healthcare crisis which is likely to affect all sectors of society over the coming months. COVID-19 will inevitably impact on the delivery of emergency and routine surgery due to physical and human resource limitations. This is likely to lead to the suspension of all non-essential surgery including aesthetic surgery. We are therefore facing a very difficult challenge in the months to come, particularly for those who only work in the private sector.
As evidenced by developments over the last few days, it is likely that our NHS will have to manage increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases and clinical services will become stretched. This will be aggravated by staff shortages due to sickness, imposed isolation and caring responsibilities. Circumstances will vary depending upon the local NHS requirement to request support from private providers, but in order to save lives, both private sector facilities and staff may be sequestered to bolster the NHS. Our members should support this need where possible. Whilst many patients will still want to be operated on and there maybe facilities willing and able to carry out such surgery, we urge members to consider the impact of each case performed on the wider healthcare system. It is also vital to realise the importance of using our own skills as doctors to support patients outside aesthetic surgery and to consider taking up supportive roles within the NHS.
In order to limit patient travel, each member should consider reducing outpatient treatments and clinic appointments to only those that are deemed necessary.
Whilst adhering to general advice on travel, the BAAPS also advise that all non-essential travel both within the UK and abroad should be cancelled. This is to ensure that our members are available to help health services cope with COVID-19. A second aim is to minimize any risk, however small, of transmitting the virus to other groups of surgeons and/or patients, and to avoid the potential need for self-isolation for two weeks on return to the UK. Our priority is to look after our members so they can protect patients.
This means that from Monday 16th March, the BAAPS recommends that all conferences and training courses that require travel should be postponed unless they can be delivered by video call or webinar. Events within hospitals and private care facilities may continue if local circumstances allow. These arrangements should remain in place until advised otherwise.
We will continue to monitor and advise as required over the coming weeks and months.
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