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Leading surgical college moves to support health care workers at the National Pandemic Recovery Institute

Andrew Diver, Consultant Plastic Surgeon (photo: insert)

The Leading College of Surgery has announced two major appointments in Northern Ireland as the Health Service continues to list the significant backlog and expectations due to the Covid pandemic.

A 2016 report by Bengoa and a previous study highlighted how difficult it is to recruit and retain staff in the current hospital care setting.

While some progress has been made, Health Minister Robin Swan recently said his successor would have “a lot of work to do” to change the system.

Stormont ministers are unable to sign off on a three-year budget that would significantly increase healthcare due to a power-sharing stalemate, which means departments will have to abandon urgent measures to continue funding healthcare and public services.

Earlier this year, it was announced that emergency surgery would be halted at Newris, Daisy Hill Hospital, and patients in need of hospitalization were moved to Craigavon.

The reason was the difficulty of recruiting surgeons, and despite repeated attempts, only two of Daisy Hill’s six Consultant General Surgery positions were filled and one would soon become vacant.

Pressure from Northern Ireland Ambulance Service staff has also led to delays in answering some calls, and this is happening as hospitals continue to struggle with high levels of hospitalized Covid-19 patients.

Meanwhile, the Royal College of Physicians said the phone system that most doctors adopted at the start of the pandemic was a first.

However, patients say the system has not worked effectively and have expressed concern about difficulties in accessing doctors.

RCGP received better access to patients.

Now, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, which has 15,000 members in the UK, has appointed two Regional Ambassadors for Surgery in Belfast.

They will play a key role in the college’s efforts to support members in the region as the profession remains under pressure due to growing patient waiting lists and workforce shortages during the recovery from the pandemic.

Andrew Diver, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Kingsbridge Hospital and Manu Shanmujanathan, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Royal Victoria Hospital, will provide support and guidance to members of the College in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Diver will co-develop a mentorship program targeting the burnout expert in mental health issues and health professionals.

“The biggest hurdle in the surgical profession can be that the surgeons themselves don’t realize they have a mental health issue, so they don’t always talk.

However, this is slowly changing for the better in the surgery community. We need to get over the idea that surgeons need to carry on with their daily work and be more flexible even in the face of increasing pressure.

“It is better for people to speak up when they are in trouble and to know that there are resources to help people. The college is here for everyone and to help everyone overcome the challenges they face in the world of work.”

Professor Michael Griffin, Chair of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, said: “In their new role, Mr Diver and Mr Shanmugathan will help us tackle workforce issues and improve the workforce for surgeons and healthcare professionals across the UK.

“We need to fully support our members as they continue to work during this challenging time. We know healthcare professionals currently face significant challenges unique to Northern Ireland.

“Being at Mr Diver and Mr Shanmuganathan’s premises will give us invaluable information about the situation and how we can best support our members in this part of the UK.

Source: Belfastlive





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