Should hospitals suspend non-emergency operations?
Are we in mitigation stage?
Not till community spread occurs
Dr KK Aggarwal
President CMAAO, HCFI and Past national President IMA
In UK NHS Hospitals are being told to look at suspending non-emergency operations due to coronavirus. They have asked trusts to sort their patients by risk so that routine surgery can be postponed as Covid-19 cases surge.
Freeing up capacity could also increase the number of beds needed by those with Covid-19. If you stopped doing elective surgery, you could convert theatres, you could convert resuscitation rooms, recovery areas into places where you could provide intensive care. The system could double intensive care capacity.
But in India is the right time. I do not think so. These are mitigation exercises we do when there is a community spread. We still are not in community spread stage. Even if it comes the doubling time of covid 19 will become shorter.
If that happens the following will be justifiable
§ Suspending non-urgent outpatient appointments to ensure urgent appointments were prioritised
§ Suspending non-urgent surgical admissions and procedures - but ensuring access for emergency and urgent surgery
§ Prioritising the use of non-emergency patient transport to focus on hospital discharges and ambulance emergency response
§ Expediting discharge of vulnerable patients from acute and community hospitals
§ Relaxing targets and monitoring arrangements across the health and care system
§ Minimising regulation requirements for health and care settings
§ Fast-tracking placements to home care
§ Giving permission to cancel internal and professional events, including study leave, to free up staff for preparations
§ Suspending health camps