Bulletin 126, March 2021

From the Editor, Dr Helgi Johannsson

Welcome to the March 2021 Bulletin.

As I look out of the window I see the early evidence of spring – the daffodils in our terrace containers have started sprouting and are showing just the start of the flower bulb. By the time you read this they will hopefully have bloomed and I welcome you to spring, and the new edition of the Bulletin.  

This time last year I would never have believed that we would be in lockdown number three, and dealing with yet another surge of coronavirus. This time is a little different: we have some treatments, and know our enemy a little better, and most of us are pretty confident using Teams and Zoom to manage the various meetings that got cancelled in the spring. It is obvious that this isn’t a sprint, and although the vaccine provides a lot of hope we now know that education, exams and training have to continue. 

Drs Shah and Syed (see page 44) demonstrate that this is not only possible but effective for our novice new starter courses, but Dr Ng (page 28) reminds us that the COVID pandemic has caused major disruption to an entire generation of trainees, with further recruitment difficulties and uncertainty to come. The challenge over the next few months and years will be to accommodate their training needs, and to prevent a recruitment crisis of fully trained anaesthetists. In the next few years the great priority will be to try to catch up, and provide operations for all the people currently living in pain and disability, while waiting for routine surgery. We will be at the centre of that drive.  

I read with interest the article by Dr Marks (see page 30) on ergonomics in the workplace. I know several of my colleagues have had cervical intervertebral disc problems in the last few years, with at least two operations. Our ergonomics are so often wrong in the workplace, and the twists and tensions of our day to day job could easily be improved with some thought into the placement of monitors, and the height of the patient when intubating.  

One of my career regrets is that apart from a fantastic elective in rural South Africa as a medical student, I have never worked abroad, which is why I wanted to highlight the article by Drs Wong and Lubis (see page 12) sharing their and others’ experience of anaesthesia in a global setting, demonstrating it really isn’t too late for any of us. We just need to be able to travel!

Over the next few issues you will see some changes to the way the Bulletin is laid out and I want to thank those of you who took part in our members’ survey and shared with us how you want to read it. As always, I want to encourage you to write articles for us, strictly not over 800 words, but on a variety of subjects. I would particularly welcome personal accounts and experiences not only as doctors, but also those of you who have been patients.  

I hope you are enjoying the blooming of spring and I really hope that by the time you
read this there is at least some return to normality.