Statement regarding timing of surgery post COVID-19 infection in children

This statement is a joint response from the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons (BAPS), the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (APAGBI) and the Children’s Surgical Forum (CSF).
Health professionals in scrubs walking down hospital corridor

As stated in RCPCH national guidance, ‘Elective surgery in children should be deferred for 14 days following the onset of symptoms or diagnosis with mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection’.

The Association of Anaesthetists (AoA) have recently published a consensus statement recommending that patients should avoid elective surgery within seven weeks of infection. This consensus has been developed for adult patients and services should continue to use the RCPCH guidance for children and young people. 

The consensus published by the AoA does not impact on the recommendations within the RCPCH guidance and we therefore continue to advise that for children, elective surgery can be performed 14 days following the onset of symptoms or diagnosis with mild COVID-19 infection. 

Thank you for your support as we continue to work together to tackle long waits for care and address backlogs built up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Planning services using RCPCH guidance for children and young people will support this effort. 

A letter has been prepared to enable you to share this recommendation across your networks. This is available for download below.