Guidance on resumption of scheduled surgical services

On 1th May, the National Public Health Emergency Response Team (NPHET) approved the interim guidance scheduled care pathway for acute operations which included risk assessment of patients in advance of hospital attendance/ admission and SARS-CoV-2 testing for patients to undergo aerosol generating procedures or an inpatient stay. Since then the COVID-19 epidemiological curve has remained flattened and we are in a low prevalence environment with intermittent local clusters/ outbreaks which are being managed by testing, contacting tracing and isolation. Whilst socio-economic activity is increasing, the embedded practice of hand hygiene, physical distancing, masking and respiratory etiquette act as control measures to limit spread.

Since May data has been gathered on the impact of the risk assessment questionnaire and testing in mitigating the risk of patients being admitted with undetected COVID-19. There is now sufficient data to inform us that, in a low prevalence environment, a pathway that includes minimizing exposure risk through self-isolating as far as is practical and a structured risk assessment questionnaire is an effective method of risk mitigation.

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