Changes to isolation requirements
Updated 6 May 2022
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced a series of recommendations that roll back on measures introduced at the height of the pandemic, reducing the need for isolation before certain types of procedures.
These changes reduce the impact on patients prior to surgery, which should make it easier for them to attend and less likely to have their procedure cancelled due to not meeting the existing requirements.
Low to moderate risk
The UKHSA announcement means that from Monday 1st November onwards, patients due to attend a low to moderate elective procedure will no longer need to isolate as long as the following applies:
They are assessed as low-risk:
- Have had at least two vaccinations
- Have none of the symptoms (fever, persistent cough, loss of sense of smell or taste)
- Haven’t been in contact with someone confirmed or suspected of having the virus in the last 10 days
On the day of the procedure, patients who meet the above requirements will need to carry out a lateral flow test, preferably prior to arrival. They will need to submit the result to the NHS or Gov.uk websites, and bring an email or text that confirms the negative result.
Patients who do not meet the criteria above, whether because they have not been vaccinated, are a higher risk or undertaking a higher risk procedure, must continue to follow the existing guidance, which requires them to isolate and complete either a lateral flow test or PCR test prior to attending their procedure.
The decision on whether a patient is a low risk, and if their procedure can be classified as low to moderate risk, is down to consultants and our pre-admission teams. The UKHSA provides guidance on:
- What conditions and individual factors count as moderate and high risk
- The types of procedures that they classify as major
The full details on the UKHSA’s recommendations can be found on our website, as well as descriptions of our pathways, here. [link to be added]
Safety still a priority
These recommendations do not change the need for us to continue to be safety conscious. That means consultants, staff and patients, must:
- Where a mask at all times within hospital buildings
- Follow social distancing guidelines where possible, including minimising use of lifts
- Regularly wash their hands
- Not come to any of the hospital buildings if they have any of the symptoms (fever, persistent cough, loss of sense of smell or taste)