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This study explored the lived experience of rural doctors whent hey practise outside their usual scope of practice to provide medical care for people who would otherwise not have access to essential clinical services
Whatever our situation as healthcare professionals—good pacing, refreshment, and support will be key to surviving the long road ahead Here in the UK we have been in lockdown for over six weeks and our personal and professional lives have changed immeasurably. We are starting to face the reality that our lives may never return to “normal.” As healthcare professionals caring for doctors, we are impressed by how our profession has adapted to the new order. However, we are also noticing many of our colleagues, ourselves included, struggling to absorb the enormous changes forced upon us over the last two months.
Doctors have expressed concern over new guidance from Public Health England that recommends reusing personal protective equipment in the face of shortages.1 The guidance, which also recommends alternatives for unavailable equipment, has been seen as an admission by the government of the PPE shortages facing healthcare staff. Rob Harwood, chair of the BMA’s Consultants Committee, said, “This guidance is a further admission of the dire situation that some doctors and healthcare workers continue to find themselves in because of government failings.
Around the world, health and social care workers are dying because of occupational exposure to covid-19. Many hundreds have died, including more than 100 in the UK. Are these deaths, and others yet to come, an inevitable cost of this pandemic? Not if some (or all) of them could have been avoided with better planning and provision. It is impossible not to feel let down by political and healthcare leaders who, while sloganning and clapping for the NHS, have so evidently failed to protect those working within it.
This leaflet is about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak that began in China in late 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a pandemic. This means that it has spread across the world. This virus can cause a severe lung infection, and it can cause death. You can use our information to talk with your doctor if you are concerned about COVID-19.
Doctors have expressed concern over new guidance from Public Health England that recommends reusing personal protective equipment in the face of shortages. The guidance, which also recommends alternatives for unavailable equipment, has been seen as an admission by the government of the PPE shortages facing healthcare staff. Rob Harwood, chair of the BMA’s Consultants Committee, said, “This guidance is a further admission of the dire situation that some doctors and healthcare workers continue to find themselves in because of government failings.
“Deep breath in … and out. Again, deep breath in … and out.” We tune in to patients’ breath sounds, seeking confirmation of a diagnosis—one more supporting piece of evidence to reassure anxious patients or to narrow the differential. But since the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic arrived, saying “deep breath in” has been replaced by the need to take one ourselves: before looking at the morning news, before venturing out (or logging on) to work each morning, and before ringing the next patient on your list with the ominous note alongside their name: “fever and cough for a week, now feeling breathless.” Although chosen in what seems like a different era, the name for The BMJ’s new podcast for general practitioners—Deep Breath In—seems fitting for our troubled times.

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