3 Minimising the risks associated with COVID-19

3.1 For children and young people having elective surgery, follow the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health guidance for the recovery of elective surgery in children.

3.3 Advise patients (and families and carers as appropriate) that, to reduce their risk of getting COVID‑19, they should minimise contact with others and may need to self-isolate before their planned care (see recommendation 3.5).

3.4 Assess patients for symptoms of COVID‑19 on the day before and when they arrive for planned care. Discuss how the assessments will be done beforehand, for example, by telephone or video consultation to minimise face-to-face contact.

3.5 Advise patients who are at greater risk of getting COVID‑19, or having a poorer outcome if they get it, that:

  • they may want to self-isolate before a planned procedure

  • the length of self-isolation should be 14 days.

3.6 Have a local policy in place for all planned procedures outlining the testing and self-isolation strategies needed if local transmission rates of SARS-CoV-2 increase. The policy should take into account:

  • local and national prevalence (see section 8 for service organisation advice on responding to relevant local and national information on COVID-19)

  • factors associated with an increased risk of getting or becoming severely ill with COVID-19

  • the need to make individual decisions with each patient that reflect their specific risks and circumstances (see recommendation 1.2 for details).

All planned procedures needing anaesthesia (general, regional and local) or sedation

3.7 Advise patients (and families and carers as appropriate) when and where they can have a SARS‑CoV‑2 test in line with local arrangements. Include information on the availability of testing and how to access it.

3.8 Advise patients to:

  • follow comprehensive social-distancing and hand-hygiene measures for 14 days before admission

  • have a test for SARS‑CoV‑2 no more than 3 days before admission, and ensure the results are available beforehand

  • self-isolate from the day of the test until admission.

All other planned procedures, including diagnostic tests and imaging

3.9 Advise patients to follow comprehensive social-distancing and hand-hygiene measures for 14 days before having planned care.