The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the provision of orthopaedic care across the UK. During the pandemic orthopaedic specialist registrars were redeployed to “frontline” specialties occupying non-surgical roles. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on orthopaedic training in the UK is unknown. This paper sought to examine the role of orthopaedic trainees during the COVID-19 and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on postgraduate orthopaedic education.


A 42-point questionnaire was designed, validated, and disseminated via e-mail and an instant-messaging platform.


A total of 101 orthopaedic trainees, representing the four nations (Wales, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland), completed the questionnaire. Overall, 23.1% (23/101) of trainees were redeployed to non-surgical roles. Of these, 73% (17/23) were redeployed to intensive treatment units (ITUs), 13% (3/23) to A/E, and 13%(3/23%) to general medicine. Of the trainees redeployed to ITU 100%, (17/17) received formal induction. Non-deployed or returning trainees had a significant reduction in sessions. In total, 42.9% (42/101) % of trainees were not timetabled into fracture clinic, 53% (53/101) of trainees had one allocated theatre list per week, and 63.8%(64/101) of trainees did not feel they obtained enough experience in the attached subspecialty and preferred repeating this. Overall, 93% (93/101) of respondents attended at least one weekly online webinar, with 79% (79/101) of trainees rating these as useful or very useful, while 95% (95/101) trainees attended online deanery teaching which was rated as more useful than online webinars (p = 0.005)


Orthopaedic specialist trainees occupied an important role during the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on orthopaedic training. It is imperative this is properly understood to ensure orthopaedic specialist trainees achieve competencies set out in the training curriculum.

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