General professional issues

All of us will be changing aspects of what we do and how we do it. It is difficult at present to be sure what will change. It is likely that some T&O surgeons will spend more time delivering trauma care as the elective work reduces. The GMC has given support for doctors to work in areas outside their usual sphere of practice and expertise, and it is probable that some of us will be involved in the care of coronavirus patients. We realise this can be a particularly challenging aspect of the plans, and we encourage you to read the guidance carefully on this. At this time of national emergency it will be important that we work together, supporting one another and rising to the challenge ahead.

GMC guidance is available here.

Research and clinical trials

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a large number of NIHR Trauma and Orthopaedic studies have been paused. Only follow ups involving safety checks (e.g. drug levels) are continuing at the moment. The Urgent Public Health Committee of the NIHR Clinical Research Network is currently having a videoconference three times a week to ensure the implementation of new studies related to COVID-19, of which there are already several open studies. For more information, please see the NIHR website here.

Training and courses

It is expected that there will be cancellations to study leave and that courses/learning opportunities will be suspended both locally and nationally. The BOA is keeping under review the courses that we run, and currently booked participants on upcoming courses have already been contacted to discuss this. You can read more about the current situation with our courses and how BOA activities are affected by coronavirus here. This also explains how to contact the BOA during this period when many of our staff are working remotely. More information for Trainees and TPDs is available here.

Regarding private patients and private practice

Many private hospitals are changing how they work in order to support the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic. For any surgeons who are still considering seeing patients, we advise they should be applying the same standards to private patients as to those in the NHS. Therefore it is advisable to limit face-to-face consultations and surgery to those patients where this is essential, especially in at-risk groups including the over 70s. 

FIPO (Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations), of which the BOA is a member, have published legal advice to support those working in private practice, which we have placed on our website here.

PHIN (Private Healthcare Information Network)

PHIN (with the support of the CMA) have confirmed to the BOA that they will not be contacting consultants with any requests for information or data review during this period of uncertainty, however the PHIN Consultant Portal is available to review their data reports, create profiles and submit/update fee information. The current situation is likely to have implications on PHIN’S ability to update the measures on their public website in the future, but they are working through these implications and will provide an update in due course. If you have any concerns, challenges or anything that PHIN may be able to support you with please contact consultants@phin.org.uk.

Medical Devices Regulation

On the 25 March the European Commission announced that at the beginning of April it intends to propose a 12-month postponement to the date of application of the MDR. The Commission will urge the European Council and European Parliament to rapidly adopt the proposal via a co-decision procedure – the European Parliament has already expressed their support for this. The BOA is supporting this postponement, alongside our industry colleagues, and we will endeavour to keep members updated as more information is released.  

Other resources:

  • BMA coronavirus resources hub here.
  • Public Health England guidance for all NHS staff here.
  • NHS Health Education England e-LfH Coronavirus resource here.

Mental health and wellbeing

We have a dedicated page with various resources for those that wish to seek support for dealing with stress, anxiety and general wellbeing issues. Please vist the page here.