Journal of Surgical Simulation 2022; 9: 138 - 144

Published: 16 December 2022


Original article

Impact of redeployment on core surgical trainees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: a regional survey

Thomas Riley and Ambareen Kausar
Corresponding author: Thomas Riley, Department of Urology, The York Hospital, Wiggington Road, York, YO31 8HE, UK. Email:


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a widespread redistribution of the medical workforce. This survey aims to quantify the extent to which core surgical trainees (CSTs) were redeployed, assess the training provided and evaluate the impact on training and wellbeing.

Methods: An electronic survey was emailed to all CSTs in the north of England during the peak of the pandemic. The survey was live from 1 April 2020 to 15 April 2020 with a follow-up survey between 17 July 2020 and 31 July 2020.

Results: Of 327 CSTs who were emailed, 135 responded (41%). Almost half had either been redeployed (26%) or were awaiting redeployment (22%). Redeployment was mostly to critical care (40%), acute medicine (25%) and COVID-19 wards (20%). Although some examples of good training were reported, 63% had no formal training before redeployment and only 14% felt fully prepared. Follow-up data revealed only 45% of redeployed trainees received induction and 31% believed they were asked to work above their competency level. 76% were worried about passing COVID-19 to family and friends, 63% reported low mood, 61% reported heightened anxiety and one trainee reported accessing psychological support services. Operative experience was reduced or absent in 98% regardless of redeployment status and 69% were worried about career progression.

Conclusion: There was a high rate of redeployment of CSTs but provision of training was limited and most trainees reported a detrimental impact on training and wellbeing. These issues should be addressed should further redeployment be required. A focus on novel methods of surgical training is paramount should access to traditional operative experience continue to be reduced.


surgical; training; redeployment; COVID-19; wellbeing; education;