Intended for healthcare professionals


Covid-19: all non-urgent elective surgery is suspended for at least three months in England

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 18 March 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m1106

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  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

NHS hospitals in England have been told to suspend all non-urgent elective surgery for at least three months from 15 April to help the service deal with the covid-19 pandemic.

Trusts are also advised to urgently discharge inpatients who are medically fit to leave. In addition, the NHS will block-buy capacity in independent hospitals within the next fortnight to “expand critical care capacity to the maximum,” NHS bosses have said.

In a letter to NHS staff on 17 March,1 NHS England’s chief executive, Simon Stevens, and its chief operating officer, Amanda Pritchard, said that these measures aimed to free up 30 000 or more of the English NHS’s 100 000 general and acute beds, supplementing them with “all available” additional capacity.

“Covid-19 presents the NHS with arguably the greatest challenge it has faced since its creation,” they said. “This is a time when the entire NHS will benefit from pulling together in a nationally coordinated effort.”

The letter said that trusts had …

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