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Letter from our President

Brexit, Death, Taxes & COVID-19

Dear Colleague

The number of emails arriving concerning COVID-19 action, reaction and response makes me yearn for the quieter times of BREXIT when at least that topic could be avoided by turning off the TV or Radio. Much as I am loathe to fill your inboxes with another ‘Response to COVID-19’ email I do have to let you know how this is affecting the ALSGBI.

All face-to-face training sessions and meetings have been cancelled or postponed until at least the end of June. We will do our best to deliver some form of training or instruction. We still plan to continue our monthly Webinars and are planning the production of a series of Podcasts. We will endeavour to direct members to other relevant online resources as they appear. There is no threat at present to our Annual Scientific Meeting in December in London.

Our LapPass® kits are available for purchase at a discounted rate for ALSGBI Trainee members here and we would encourage our trainee members to practise the LapPass® tasks when they have the opportunity.

The Spring Newsletter will be published soon. This will only be available online and will be accessible through the website. Links will be sent.

Other specialty Associations have published guidelines on cancer and urgent case management during the crisis and NHS specialty guidelines are available here .

We wish you a safe next few months. Although guidelines seem to change several times a day we can offer no advice other than follow local guidelines, look after your patients, family and yourselves (not necessarily in that order). It was said by Benjamin Franklin that there is nothing certain in life except death and taxes. With COVID-19 it might be that one of these certainties may have to take a holiday.

Don Menzies

President, ALSGBI

Announcing the formation of PanSurg

PanSurg was created in recognition of the unparalleled challenges currently facing healthcare systems around the world from the COVID-19 pandemic. PanSurg is a global hub for surgeons and related professionals to share experiences, policy, data and research for the delivery of safe, effective surgery during the pandemic. The organisation aims to make a difference to frontline surgical care in real-time.

As COVID-19 spreads beyond borders, it is vital that we draw on our collective experiences quickly and intelligently to serve our patients safely and effectively. Flexibility and learning are central to effective adaptation so we have created a space for real-time sharing of work and ideas to support safe surgical practice globally in the context of this pandemic.

Pansurg has already provided two high quality webcasts from Italian surgeons addressing PPE, organisation, preoperative care and assessment. Future webcasts include Disaster Response Modelling, Colorectal Cancer Care in the Pandemic and Laparoscopy versus Open Surgery. There are resource documents which will be categorised by two of the big tech firms and are also research opportunities.

As a society, the ALSGBI supports these activities and is contributing to the initiative with webcasts and position statements.

Click on the image below for the Handbook of COVID-19 Prevention & Treatment

The information is rapidly changing and in particular the antiviral treatment regimen in this handbook may need to be revised. The ALSGBI advises following government and local trust advice.

 

Click below to view the article “Minimally Invasive Surgery & the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak – Lessons Learned in China & Italy”

 

 

 

Laparoscopic Surgery & COVID-19 Pandemic

The ALSGBI Executive have discussed this at length. We feel that although the intercollegiate guidance is not particularly supportive of laparoscopic surgery it is our responsibility not to confuse the issue further by taking a different view or recommending a different strategy/guideline from that of the colleges. Their guidance is deliberately vague! It should be interpreted as appropriate for your own trust. Laparoscopy should be considered an aerosol generating procedure (AGP) and used only when the balance of benefit is greatly in favour of the patient. Full PPE should be used, port filters/ smoke extraction and low pressure pneumoperitoneal insufflation should be employed. Always remember that open surgery is also an AGP and the use of energy devices and suction will produce considerable aerosol.

Laparoscopic surgery can be used during the Covid-19 pandemic and its application is at the discretion of the local surgical team (surgeons, anaesthetists, nursing staff and OPDs.). It is only the local team who are equipped with the appropriate local knowledge around Covid-19 prevalence, local surgical equipment availability and expertise.

Intercollegiate General Surgery Guidance on COVID-19

Click here for infographic