Dr Emma Evans, Consultant Anaesthetist
Dr Emma Evans is a Consultant Anaesthetist at St George’s, and care group lead for theatres.
What does your role normally involve?
I’m a consultant anaesthetist normally working in maternity and plastics theatres, but my job also involves time as the care group lead for theatres, which means I am responsible for how the theatres in St George’s are run.
Why did you want to become an anaesthetist?
I wanted to become an anaesthetist after I spent time in theatres during my surgical house officer year (when they still existed!). The anaesthetists I met just made all the complicated things they were doing look slick, and they always seemed totally in control. I just thought that was how I wanted to be as a doctor so I pursued a career in anaesthetics. It was the best decision I’ve made and I’ve never regretted it.
How has your role changed as a result of Covid-19?
The balance of my role has definitely been more around working out how theatres needed to adapt to look after patients with Covid-19 – whilst keeping staff safe too. There has been lots of change in how we organise and conduct operating lists, and it isn’t over yet.
My work in maternity has definitely given me the balance I need. It’s really challenging to find a way of delivering compassionate care while wearing masks and visors pretty much all the time. We’ve pulled together as a team, and have worked really hard at communicating even better to compensate for patients not being able to see our faces and smiles.
What advice would you give to women who might be worried about giving birth at St George’s at present ?
Please don’t worry. We are all trying hard to make sure that the care women receive, and their experience of hospital, isn’t negatively affected by the pandemic. Some things have changed, like visitors and partners not being allowed at certain times, but we have adapted well and managed to keep lots of the best things too.
We still see expectant mothers before their operation, including for planned caesarian sections, and for some anaesthetic clinics, and we’ve used innovative ways to keep in touch for other consultations. The best bit is that we’ve been able to prioritise maternity, and so we’ve been able to continue our epidural service for women in labour, and have had even more consultant led care than usual.
What has really struck you about the current situation?
Throughout all of this, the way the midwives, theatre teams and doctors have pulled together to make sure that we’ve kept up our high standards of clinical care has been amazing. No one has simply accepted that Covid-19 will negatively impact the standard of care we provide in this unit – in fact, the opposite is true. Women and their families’ experience of birth remains very much at the heart of what we do, and the way we do it.