On the 17th of October, I spoke to orthopaedic surgeon, Andrew Edwards, about how the NHS and other medical centres are dealing with the aftereffects of covid. Mr Edwards spoke to me about how the pandemic affected his work and where he was working. “Initially all private hospital work was stopped, therefore I was only based at the NHS hospital in Scunthorpe. My shift pattern became 24 hours on call, 12 hours trauma work, and 24 hours on standby for any emergencies”. He told me how his work shifts varied greatly during the first nine months of the pandemic as there were no elective procedures to go ahead, for example, people with arthritic joints had their appointments postponed. While Mr Edwards’ workload lowered, people were still breaking bones and getting injured, so his work was majorly focused on emergency treatment of orthopaedic fractures and other urgent conditions.

Next, I spoke to Mr Edwards about how the hospitals adapted to the pandemic after finding out more about the virus and how it is spread. He told me “We understood that if we could keep a clean site, where patients that are tested and did not have covid could be emitted and all staff could test twice a week then we could start our elective orthopaedic work and some more urgent elective general surgery work at a separate place to the main acute hospital”. This was not difficult for Mr Edwards to adapt to considering him and his colleagues were on a three days work, three days rest rota throughout the early months of the pandemic. “But,” he told me “When we started elective work it became considerably more difficult because part of our weeks were spent in the acute hospital looking after patients who had suffered trauma and on the other part of our weeks was dealt with patients who had elective procedures”, he went on to tell me about how the hospitals continued to test it’s patients and doctors and the pressure build-up after the first few months. Looking further towards the future, we discussed the possibilities of hospitals returning back to normal once the major effects of covid fade away. He shared with me that “From the perspective of the pandemic hospitals have returned almost to normal. However, there is a backlog of about 9 to 12 months and therefore the number of patients waiting is considerably more than it usually was before the pandemic”, the pressure on the doctors due to the virus was causing them to work more efficiently, harder, and for longer hours. Finally, I asked about what he believes will change or remain as the pandemic settles into the past. Mr Edwards told me that, in the hospitals, there will always be an alert when an outbreak of any viral infection occurs and the spread of them to staff and patients. He expects that social distancing, the washing of hands, and the wearing of aprons will continue now for the foreseeable future.