Published online Nov 28, 2021. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v27.i44.7625
Peer-review started: March 27, 2021
First decision: June 14, 2021
Revised: June 28, 2021
Accepted: November 15, 2021
Article in press: November 15, 2021
Published online: November 28, 2021
In late 2019, reports arose of a new respiratory disease in China, identified as a novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The World Health Organisation named the disease caused by the virus ‘coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)’. It was declared a pandemic in early 2020, after the disease rapidly spread across the world. COVID-19 has not only resulted in substantial morbidity and mortality but also significantly impacted healthcare service provision and training across all medical specialties with gastroenterology and Hepatology services being no exception. Internationally, most, if not all ‘non-urgent’ services have been placed on hold during surges of infections. As a result there have been delayed diagnoses, procedures, and surgeries which will undoubtedly result in increased morbidity and mortality. Outpatient services have been converted to remote consultations where possible in many countries. Trainees have been redeployed to help care for COVID-19 patients in other settings, resulting in disruption to their training - particularly endoscopy and outpatient clinics. This has led to significant anxiety amongst trainees, and risks prolongation of training. It is of the utmost importance to develop strategies that continue to support COVID-19-related service provision, whilst also supporting existing and future gastroenterology and Hepatology services and training. Changes to healthcare provision during the pandemic have generated new and improved frameworks of service and training delivery, which can be adopted in the post-COVID-19 world, leading to enhanced patient care.
Core Tip: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to adverse effects on many aspects of life. Healthcare professionals have faced unique challenges with COVID-19 including surges in cases with easing of lockdown measures, the emergence of new variants, and the roll-out of mass vaccination. The pandemic has had a largely negative impact on gastroenterology and hepatology service provision and training across the world. These difficulties have affected job-roles and training across the medical profession. We review the available evidence on the COVID-19 disruption to gastroenterology and hepatology service provision and training, discussing recommendations to minimise the interference going forward.