Restarting gastrointestinal endoscopy in the deceleration and early recovery phases of COVID-19 pandemic: Guidance from the British Society of Gastroenterology

Clin Med (Lond). 2020 Jun 9;clinmed.2020-0296. doi: 10.7861/clinmed.2020-0296. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Many non-emergency clinical services were suspended during COVID-19 pandemic peak. It is essential to develop a plan for restarting services following the peak. It is equally important to protect patients and staff and to use resources and personal protective equipment (PPE) efficiently. The British Society of Gastroenterology Endoscopy Committee and Quality Improvement Programme has produced guidance on how a restart can be safely delivered. Key recommendations include the following: all patients should have need for endoscopy assessed by senior clinicians and prioritised according to criteria we have outlined; once the need for endoscopy is confirmed, patients should undergo telephone screening for symptoms using systematic questionnaires; all outpatients should undergo RT-PCR testing for COVID-19 virus 1-3 days prior to endoscopy; and PPE should be determined by patient risk stratification, the nature of the procedure and the results of testing. While this guidance is tailored to endoscopy services, it could be adapted for any interventional medical discipline.

Keywords: British Society of Gastroenterology; Covid-19; endoscopy; pandemic.