Table 1

Key reciprocal obligations owed to doctors

1.Adequate indemnity insurance and licencing arrangements to be provided by medical bodies; this is not to prevent doctors acting badly without impunity, but to ensure that the extraordinary contextual matters are taken into account.
2.Personal protective equipment, training and clinical supervision to be provided by employers – Training and supervision may be particularly needed for those acting outside their normal role.
3.Sustainable working hours and adequate rest to be mandated by governing bodies and enforced by employers.
4.Priority testing for those who develop symptoms – The highest priority testing should be for inpatients or those in high-risk settings (eg, elderly care homes) in which the test result changes clinical outcome, but doctors should be prioritised above other community testing.
5.Access to best available medical care if they get sick – This could include priority (but not guaranteed) access to intensive care units for suspected occupationally acquired COVID-19.
6.Sufficient sick pay for occupationally acquired illness or burnout – Not limited to COVID-19 infection but to other causes of ill health caused by the wider environment.
7.Consideration of wider social factors – This includes employer obligations to provide childcare, other caring responsibilities and transport to work if affected by public transport closures or increased hours.
8.Acknowledgement of contribution and service by employers, governments, media and the public – This includes for extra hours worked and avoiding making doctors scapegoats for unavoidable bad consequences of the pandemic.
9.Postpandemic mental health support and leave to be provided by employers – Workers risk suffering long-term effects and burnout and likely will have not been allowed annual leave during the pandemic. Postpandemic annual leave may need to be prioritised over returning elective services to normal.