3 Patients known or suspected to have COVID-19

3 Patients known or suspected to have COVID-19

3.1 If patients with symptoms of COVID‑19 need to attend the gastroenterology or hepatology department, follow appropriate UK government guidance on infection prevention and control for COVID-19. This includes recommendations on using personal protective equipment (PPE), patient transfers, and options for outpatient settings.

3.2 If COVID‑19 is later diagnosed in a patient not isolated from admission or presentation, follow UK government guidance for health professionals.

Treatment considerations

3.3 In patients with symptoms of COVID‑19:

  • do not suddenly stop oral or rectal corticosteroids

  • contact the gastroenterology or hepatology team for urgent advice before changing or stopping any drugs that affect the immune response.

3.4 When deciding whether to stop treatment, discuss the risks and benefits with the patient or their parents or carers, and take into account:

  • whether COVID‑19 is confirmed

  • the severity of the COVID‑19

  • the risks and benefits of stopping or continuing treatment

  • the severity of the gastrointestinal or liver condition

  • the effect of stopping treatment on other conditions

  • other risk factors such as age and comorbidities (for example respiratory or cardiovascular conditions).