The Confederation of British Surgery chats with ProMedical

14 Jul 2021 Anne Marie Fogarty

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We recently caught up with our good friends at the Confederation of British Surgery CBS to discuss their work and how the pandemic impacted their services. We were delighted to pose some questions that will undoubtedly be of great interest to all our NHS and Private Sector Healthcare Workers, particularly our surgical doctors and nurses across the UK.


In November 2017, the CBS – a trade union for surgeons became the first and sole UK- recognised trade union exclusively for surgeons, the surgical team and anaesthetists.

The core aim of the CBS is to look after the professional and employment interests of surgeons and their teams irrespective of Surgical Royal College or Surgical Specialty Association affiliation.

As such, CBS would be able to involve itself in matters relating to:

  • terms and conditions of service
  • contracts of employment
  • litigation
  • insurance
  • other issues – from which other Surgical Associations are excluded based on their charitable status.

As a healthcare flexible workforce solution supporting the NHS, including many in the surgical speciality, we were eager to learn more about the CBS and its important work across the UK.

So, we were delighted to speak with CBS Managing Director James Rose.

What are the key aims of CBS?

The CBS tends to be the natural choice for UK surgeons. It is aligned to the Specialist Surgical and Anaesthetic Associations and has no political affiliations. As CBS is not politically aligned, we can concentrate on solving problems by dialogue and constructive contribution.

It is hoped and intended that the Confederation members will have access to appropriate cover and advice relevant to working in the unique and often stressful surgical environment. The aim is to provide exclusive benefits to surgeons, extended members of the surgical team and their families. In protecting and supporting surgeons and their teams in the workplace, the ultimate aim is to improve the care of all patients requiring surgical care and treatment.

ProMedical shares this aim through staffing solutions to ultimately provide excellent professionals delivering quality patient care and constantly seek to improve surgical patient care and treatment.

How has the Confederation been affected over the past year by the pandemic?

Everyone has been affected by the pandemic. Despite furloughing our staff, our membership has grown by 200% in the past 12 months. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of having someone in your corner to stand up for your rights – particularly the most current issues such as appropriate PPE and avoiding burnout.

The Confederation aims to support the welfare of surgeons across the UK – How do you achieve this?

  • A combination of published guidance and individual support.
  • Take a  look at the 10 Reasons why you should join the Confederation of British Surgery
  • At an individual level, surgeons are supported by impartial colleagues to consider the bigger picture and their place in it. Support from colleagues in similar positions and fields of expertise (Surgery) is pivotal as there is a true understanding and appreciation for our members’ current issues.

What are the key issues to be addressed in surgery at this present time as we emerge out of Covid somewhat?

Matching supply and demand in a sustainable way, ensuring workplace wellbeing and maintaining the surgical workforce by excellent training, and preventing burnout to avoid a mass exodus from the Health Service are the key critical issues we face currently.

How have you adapted your approach during the pandemic? Have you seen a significant increase in wellness issues due to Covid?

Surgeons and Anaesthetists have been extremely challenged by Covid, particularly with the change in roles, the intensity of the workload and coping with the high death rate. We perceive that stress levels are set to increase once more as we attempt to resume ‘normal ‘service dealing with the size of waiting lists. As a union, CBS will seek to provide constructive support to the profession.

The surgery backlog – How is this impacting UK surgeons and their wellbeing? What challenges lie ahead?

The pre-existing, under-resourced health service already presented a steep challenge, and Covid has dramatically increased this. We seek to address this issue in collaboration with all concerned in the delivery of excellent surgical care.

We are developing our educational and professional resources to benefit the surgical community as a whole and every individual surgeon within it.

How does one join the Confederation of British Surgery?

Click CBS application and complete the form.


The surgical environment is stressful, so support dedicated to relevant current issues is a must for all surgeons. The CBS serves the great surgeons of this country with support, advice and resources.

We want to thank Managing Director James Rose for his time talking with us and giving us insightful wisdom on surgical supports at CBS.


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