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28.07.20

NICE publishes new guidelines on elective surgery, planned care

As part of efforts to further alleviate some of the coronavirus backlog, NICE has published new guidance on the arrangements the NHS should put in place for patients requiring elective surgery or other planned treatments and procedures (including diagnostics and imaging) during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest in its series of Covid-19 rapid guidelines being released by NICE, the newest publication makes recommendations about how these services should be organised in order to balance the risks associated with Covid-19 with the potential harms which could arise from delays in elective treatment and diagnostic procedures.

A flexible approach based on individual circumstances and the type of procedure is promoted by the publication, with the aim of supporting the prompt recovery of elective care while advocating shared decision-making, balancing the risks and benefits of any treatment.

The guideline also emphasises the need to discuss with people having planned care factors such as older age, sex and whether they are from a BAME background or have any underlying conditions which could increase their risk of contracting Covid-19 and of having a severe illness, as these may influence the decision to proceed with their planned care.

READ THE FULL NICE COVID-19 RAPID GUIDELINE

In an effort to minimise the risk of coronavirus transmission to other patients and healthcare workers, the guideline states people having planned care involving any form of anaesthesia and sedation should look to follow comprehensive social distancing and hand hygiene measures for 14 days prior to admission. They should also be advised to have a test for SARS-CoV-2 within 3 days before admission and self-isolate from the day of the test until the day of admission.

For all other planned procedures, including diagnostic tests and imaging, people should be advised to follow comprehensive social distancing and hand hygiene measures for 14 days before having planned care.

The guideline was produced in collaboration with NHS England and NHS Improvement and a cross-specialty clinical group, supported by the specialist societies and Royal Colleges. It has undergone a consultation during which a range of stakeholders, including relevant national professional and user/patient or carer groups, were invited to take part.

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