Foreword from the RCOG President and Vice President, Workforce and Professionalism.
In June 2020 the RCOG published a workforce report on a survey undertaken in May in response to concerns raised by Fellows, Members and via RCOG Council representatives that in some units/hospitals staff were being redeployed away from maternity services to support other areas of the hospital as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This had knock-on effects for remaining staff working to maintain their usual standards of patient care.
A key recommendation of this workforce report was for the College to escalate these findings to the Medical Director of NHS England and Chief Executive Officers of Trusts and Boards, asking them to reconsider the redeployment of staff away from essential maternity services. This was completed in June 2020.
In order to assess whether the service responded to these concerns, the College undertook a follow-up survey through October and November, asking units about the support available for staff during the pandemic. The survey also looked at the issue of elective gynaecology provision which was severely affected in the first wave, as well as the ability for O&G trainees to undertake crucial gynaecological training.
While there are some encouraging findings regarding staff returning to maternity care, and some examples of good practice in terms of staff support, it is vital that we continue to raise the ongoing concerns articulated by our members about the impact of the pandemic on service provision and training opportunities.
We would once again like to thank those of you who responded so promptly to this request during this pressured time dealing with the second wave. This information will enable the College to continue to support you to make sure your organisations respond in the best way possible for you and your colleagues, and for women and their babies, in the future.