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Pandemic and the human factor
  1. Piotr Szawarski
  1. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Piotr Szawarski, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, UK; piotr.szawarski{at}


As the staffing crisis in the UK deepens, it is time for the policy-makers and professional bodies to rethink the approach to the most vital and yet most fragile component of the healthcare system—the human beings. The austerity measures, combined with pandemic and more recently the vision of a backlog with attached unrealistic expectations of tackling it, have brought the NHS and many other healthcare systems to the brink of a crisis. It is a human factors approach, which emphasises clinician’s well-being as the core aspect of optimising performance that should become our goal. Delivery of healthcare under circumstances of physical, legal or moral threat cannot be optimal and is not sustainable. The pandemic served to highlight this quite clearly. Also, an injured, tired or burn-out healthcare professional cannot be expected to repair the system that has precipitated his or her condition. The approach to changing the culture of medicine may be multifaceted, but ultimately, we should rethink professionalism and the definition of duty of care putting emphasis on the well-being of those delivering the care as the way to assure best possible care.

  • Human resource management
  • Quality in health care
  • Public health

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  • Contributors Piotr Szawarski has conceived, researched and written this manuscript. PS is responsibe for the work on the manuscript and the decsion to publish.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.