Welcome. This page provides information for patients about having an operation during the COVID-19 pandemic

You or a loved one may be planning or waiting for an operation. This page provides information about surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CovidSurg group will strive to deliver resources to help every patient make the right decision when they need to.

About Surgery During COVID-19

Some operations must go ahead during the pandemic and its recovery period. The CovidSurg group is a team of surgeons and researchers working together to understand how we can protect surgical patients from infection with COVID-19 and keep surgery as safe as possible.

The CovidSurg data has shown that extra breathing complications occur in patients who are infected with COVID-19 around the time of their operation and for these patients there is an increased risk of dying.

The risk of dying is associated with patient characteristics and different types of surgery. This includes a higher risk of dying for male patients, those age over 70 years and those with existing medical problems. Surgery for cancer and major surgery or emergency operations also carry higher risks. The CovidSurg team are still working to understand more about predicting risk so that surgeons and patients can make the best choices together for every patient.

If you are preparing to undergo surgery during the pandemic, the hospital team and surgeon will have considered the risks and will adjust care to keep you safe.

The resources on this page provide information about:

  • The effects of COVID-19 on surgical patients.
  • What the hospital is doing to keep you safe.
  • What you can do to stay safe.

Patient Resources

The CovidSurg Patient Information Booklets have been created to help patients and their families understand the risks of having an operation during the COVID-19 pandemic. We explain how surgical services will care for you during the pandemic and how we can work together to keep you safe.
Our research team have created these resources with the help of a Patient Advisory Group convened through Bowel Research UK‘s People and Research Together network. This work has attracted the attention of the BMJ and won an award for its patient Engagement and Impact.

NEW: Surgery for patients with
cancer during the pandemic:

Information for patients with worrying symptoms, a cancer diagnosis or recent surgery for cancer, for UK context.

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Surgery during COVID-19:
Information for patients having surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic, for UK context.

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Short versions:
A simpler read, in larger text without any jargon, for patients with dyslexia, reading with a supporter, or just in a hurry.

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Easy Read:
A simple read with short sentences and supporting pictures designed for patients with a learning disability.

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Patient engagement helps produce authentic and accessible resources. Our Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) team is committed to translate research into patient facing materials that can be used globally. These resources are available free to anyone in the world to access or download for patients.

Please find the direct short links to the resources below. Please share freely and widely.

If you choose to share the link (instead of downloading and sharing the document), we can see all the downloads, track the impact and reach of this work, and ensure similar resources are produced in the future. Thank you.

Links back to main pages:

Surgery during COVID           bit.ly/surgerycovid

Research Explained page       bit.ly/researchexplained

English versions, UK context

Standard version                      bit.ly/surgeryduringcovid

Standard B&W                          bit.ly/surgerycovidBW

Short read                                  bit.ly/shortreadsurgery

Short read B&W                       bit.ly/shortreadBW

Easy Read                                  bit.ly/easyreadsurgery

Resources for Outside the UK

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Spain context

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UK context

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Romania context

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UK context

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Pakistan context

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UK context

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Please find the direct short links to all the resources below. Please share freely and widely.

If you choose to share the link (instead of downloading and sharing the document), we can see all the downloads, track the impact and reach of this work, and ensure similar resources are produced in the future. Thank you.

النسخة العربية / Arabic                 bit.ly/arabicsurgery

বাংলা / Bengali                        bit.ly/bengalisurgery

Brasileiro / Brazilian              bit.ly/brasileirocirurgia

Canadian / VCH                     bit.ly/surgeryCanada

Deutsche / German                 bit.ly/ChirurgieundCovid

Español / Spanish                   bit.ly/cirugíaycovid

Française / French                  bit.ly/chirurgieetcovid

Ελληνική / Greek                     bit.ly/ελληνικήχειρουργική

Italiana / Italian                       bit.ly/chirurgiaecovidi

日本語版 / Japanese                bit.ly/japansurgery

Malay                                      bit.ly/pembedahandancovid

മലയാളം / Malayalam     bit.ly/surgerymalayalam

Português / Portuguese          bit.ly/cirurgiaecovid

Română / Romanian               bit.ly/chirurgiesicovid

русский / Russian                   bit.ly/хирургияиковидность

සිංහල / Sinhalese                   bit.ly/sinhalesesurgery

South African                            bit.ly/COVIDsouthafrica

Svenska / Swedish                  bit.ly/KirurgiSverige

Türkçe / Turkish                      bit.ly/cerrahivecovid

پاکستان / Urdu                             bit.ly/urdusurgery

Ndebele / Zimbabwe               bit.ly/ndebele

Shona / Zimbabwe                   bit.ly/kuvhiyauyecovid

Patient Perspective

Shirley, after an overnight hospital stay for a procedure…

“Having been a member of the patient advisory group it’s been a pleasure to have an input through my personal and ongoing diagnosis and treatment… Throughout I have been kept well informed, had a COVID-19 swab for clearance to have a CT guided biopsy.
…I was kept in hospital overnight in a ward specifically for non covid affected patients.

Everything has been superbly well organised and explained and I have no fear of going forwards with [investigations in hospital]. Anything I can do to pass on my positive experience to others I will classify as a bonus for my having seen it first hand.
…from my experience I can only endorse that everything in the booklet was already being done when I started attending.

All the safety precautions and the information supplied throughout just increased my feelings of safety. Everything was done to put me at ease and was achieved across 2 separate hospitals and multiple different departments (laser eye surgery, CT, cardiothoracic, ct guided biopsy, overnight ward stay, oncology).”

Teams Involved

The resources hosted in these pages have been crafted with care by the following invaluable teams…

A huge thank you to every member of the CovidSurg Collaborative for working together to gather data during the pandemic, while life at work and home has been so challenging.

The CovidSurg group is an international collaboration of surgeons and researchers. It is the largest global surgical research group with colleagues from over 950 hospitals in 78 countries. The group has an inclusive model to bring together patient data that informs health services and promotes patient safety. Our last publication topped 2000 collaborators.

With collaboration we can achieve more reliable results and more quickly help surgical patients.
Please visit our Research Explained page to see more of what we have been working on.

We are indebted to our Patient Advisory Group (established through Bowel Research UK‘s People and Research Together network), who have identified the key concerns of surgical patients during the pandemic and co-created the resources. The group members have worked with us virtually and with very quick turnaround. Their wealth of personal and family experiences in and outside hospital settings have allowed our resources to answer real patients’ questions.

Mary Venn
Mary is a surgeon studying for a PhD at Queen Mary University of London. She works with CovidSurg delivering the cohort and modelling studies and leads the Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) team to deliver real time information to patients. She has led the PPI work and is committed to delivering accessible resources to patients, with patients. She has also won an award for public Engagement and Impact, for her work on CovidSurg PPI.

Daoud Chaudhry
Daoud is a University of Birmingham medical student who has spent lockdown using his graphics talents to promote the CovidSurg study and deliver outputs with panache, appealing to surgeons globally to take part and take note. Daoud’s input has supported the PPI team to turn patient information into an appealing resource bank.

Karolin Kroese
Karolin is the Communities Engagement lead at University of Birmingham Global Surgery Unit. She was instrumental in managing the Patient Advisory Group to get it off the ground at pace and has supported creation of our patient resources.

Lesley Booth
Lesley Booth works for Bowel Research UK (formerly Bowel & Cancer Research and Bowel Disease Research Foundation), leading patient involvement. Lesley linked the People and Research Together network to the CovidSurg PPI group in record time and supported progression of patient resources.

Maria Picciochi
Maria is a junior doctor from Portugal. She has liaised between the PPI team and the CovidSurg Dissemination Committee to transform translations and context-specific resources into patient information booklets at the same standards as the originals.

Abhinav Tiwari
Abhinav is a medical student at the University of Birmingham. He has supported the production of translations and context-specific patient information booklets in conjunction with the Dissemination Committee.

Joana Simões
Joana is a clinical PhD fellow from Portugal. She chairs the CovidSurg Dissemination Committee and has coordinated international collaborators to produce translations and context-specific patient information.

The CovidSurg Dissemination Committee is an international team of doctors who play a key role in disseminating information about CovidSurg studies and their results. Some members of this Committee have adapted CovidSurg patient facing materials to include country-specific information and language, making our booklet meaningful for multiple settings. The colleagues who have kindly provided translated text are listed in the following box.

Please find here the countries represented in this Committee and the respective leads.

We are indebted to our international team of collaborators who have contributed translations and context-specific versions of the Patient Information.

With thanks to:

Arabic version Ehab Al Ameer, Moe Chaar, Muhammed Elhadi
Bengali version Sajeda Ismail, Nawsheen Alam, Mohamed Thaha
Brazilian version Gustavo Mendonça Ataíde Gomes, Igor Lima Buarque
Canadian/VCH version Vancouver Coastal Health
French version Alexis Arnaud
German version Karolin Kroese
Greek version Chrysanthos Christou, Georgios Tsoulfas
Italian version Francesco Pata, Gaetano Gallo
Japanese version Sohei Satoi
Malay version April Roslani
Malayalam version Khaleel Thaha, Mohamed Thaha, Haseena Basheer
Portuguese version José Azevedo
Romanian version Eduard-Alexandru Bonci
Russian version Andrey Litvin
Sinhalese version Jayan Jayasinghe, Prasad Perera
South African version South African Society of Anaesthesiologists (SASA)
Spanish versions Ana Minaya Bravo, Carlos J-Perez
Swedish version Alysha Shetye
Turkish version Arda Isik
Urdu version Raza Sayyed, Ahmed Uzair Qureshi
Zimbabwe versions Dennis Mazingi

Mary Venn and the PPI team have worked with a Patient Advisory Group including people with learning disabilities. We have worked to ensure all patients can access the information they need and that we offer all patients the same quality of resources. This patient group has ensured we are delivering truly accessible resources.

We are grateful to Mencap for their advice in producing this work.

We are hugely grateful to Photosymbols.com who provided the visual resources for the Easy Read patient information.

Thank you to the following organisations who have supported CovidSurg research.

Other Resources for Patients

For more information about how the studies have been designed and for research outputs please visit our Research Explained page.

Here are some other useful links:

The BMJ Opinion shared our work on rapid co-production of patient resources in a blog piece you can read here.

Clinician Pages: Get Involved

If you are a clinician and would like to get involved, there is still time with CovidSurg Week still recruiting sites. This study is focused on examining the effects of previous COVID-19 on surgical patient outcomes.

For links to original CovidSurg research outputs please visit our Publications page.

Get In Touch

If you would like to contact the team to provide feedback; comment, complaint or compliment, please complete this form.

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