Liver Repaired

Liver repaired and preserved by machine before patient transplant.

Billions more in NHS funding is not going to be enough to reduce the backlog of millions of waiting patients because of a shortage of key doctors essential for most surgeries to go ahead, The Independent has been told. Dr Fiona Donald, new president of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, told The Independent the workforce gaps among anaesthetists, the largest group of hospital specialist doctors, had deteriorated since the pandemic with one in three reporting mental health problems following their experiences during the Covid crisis. In her first interview, Dr Donald, a consultant anaesthetist at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, said she was very worried about the demand on hospitals during winter, adding that doctors were being asked to do extra work that was “beyond reasonable.” She said she feared it was “inevitable” there would be more cancellations of operations in the coming months as the NHS comes under extra pressure – with the shortage of doctors placing a limit on how many surgeries could be done. Anaesthetists are essential for surgery, sedating patients and monitoring them during operations. They also work in critical care units where patients are sedated and on ventilators to help them breathe. Anaesthetists also work across other hospital departments, including maternity.


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