LONDON (Reuters) – Doctors in the United Kingdom may need to work outside of their usual medical disciplines and diverge from established procedures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, chief medical officers said on Thursday.

“Clinicians may need to depart, possibly significantly, from established procedures in order to care for patients in the highly challenging but time-bound circumstances of the peak of an epidemic,” the chief medical officers of the United Kingdom’s individual nations said in a joint letter to doctors.

They added that due consideration would be given to healthcare staff using their skills under duress.

“This may include working outside their usual scope of practice,” the chief medical officers said.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce and David Milliken, editing by Estelle Shirbon)