Health ministry instructs state hospitals to resume “curtailed” surgeries

Health ministry instructs state hospitals to resume “curtailed” surgeries

Health ministry instructs state hospitals to resume “curtailed” surgeries

Written by Hassaan Shazuli

28 May, 2020 | 3:12 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): The health ministry has instructed state hospitals to gradually recommence surgeries and medical procedures, observing that such services have been “temporarily curtailed” amidst COVID-19.

Surgeries should be performed on patients who require an emergency procedure, even if they are considered as high-risk patients for COVID-19, with the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Dr Anil Jasinghe, the director-general of health services said in a letter.

“In the case of emergency procedures, the COVID-19 PCR test result should not delay the procedure,” he said.

The health ministry has recommended patients to be assessed as “high-risk” or “low-risk” patients for COVID-19 using a special “screening tool”.

According to the screening tool, individuals who had been exposed to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients two weeks before the procedure, or travelled outside the country or visited an area which is under high surveillance for the virus, qualify as high-risk patients.

A person who does not meet any of the criteria will be considered as a low-risk patient.

The health chief noted that elective surgeries — which are not required to be done immediately — on high-risk COVID-19 patients can either be postponed by 14 days or carried out using PPE gear which includes a closer fitting face mask, known as an N-95 mask.

“Any elective surgical/medical procedure should be re-scheduled as soon as practically possible,” Dr Jasinghe said if the surgery is not carried out immediately.

He said that procedures should recommence safely without increasing the risk of COVID-19.

The health ministry observed that emergency procedures have been temporarily reduced at state hospitals to “ensure adequate hospital capacity to respond to COVID-19”.

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