Bulletin 124, November 2020

From the Editor, Dr Helgi Johannsson

Welcome to the November Bulletin

As you open your November edition of the Bulletin, I sincerely hope we have managed to prevent a large second wave of coronavirus infection. But as I write we are finally seeing the increase in cases predicted of a second wave. Still, in my hospital there are no patients with coronavirus on the intensive care unit, which gives me some hope that we may be able to continue with the enormous task of getting the NHS’s elective work back on track and reversing the colossal disruption that has affected all our lives.

COVID-19 has dominated the news and our conversations, and so it is no surprise that this month’s edition of the Bulletin contains a lot of pandemic-related articles. It’s not all bad news however, and the articles on pre-assessment show how the pandemic has focused our minds and streamlined so many pathways. In order to access an operation, a patient may previously have had to attend several face-to-face appointments at different times, many of which now occur remotely and at the mutual convenience of patient and clinician. It is also wonderful to see the empowerment of nursing staff taking on extra roles, and the innovative use of technology. I personally found the tips on remote meetings very useful and hope that incorporating them will avoid humiliating technical glitches happening at awkward moments – as we have all witnessed on TV and radio just as the person being interviewed is coming to the crucial point of the whole interview.

This month we showcase research in anaesthesia, and I am delighted to see that, after the first wave, research activity is up and running again. The topics covered are as important as ever – COVID-19 cannot be allowed to stop our progress as a specialty. The same applies to education, where the article on remote simulation shows that it can be done.

Your representatives – the College Council members – feature again in this edition, where Dr Kirstin May reflects on where we have come, and how SAS-grade doctors have not only been indispensable in the response to COVID-19, but still are as we try to get elective work back on track. In our ‘As we were’ article we hear from Janice Fazackerley, our previous vice-president. Throughout her tenure she was a sensible voice of reason with a passion for the doctors and patients she represented. She will be much missed from Council, but I’m pleased to say that she very much remains a friend and a source of excellent advice.

Finally, I want to extend my gratitude to Lyndsey Forbes for the moving and highly personal account of her experience of obesity and weight-loss surgery. What we say in the coffee-room and see as mere ‘banter’ can hurt. We may forget what was said, but we will never forget how it made us feel.

Here’s hoping we’ll be able to spend Christmas in groups larger than six!