The British Association of Paediatric Surgeons recognises that there are many patients and families that will be very concerned about the vulnerability of loved ones to COVID-19. Current evidence suggests that the most vulnerable people are those above the age of 70 and who have multiple health problems. Children do not appear to be vulnerable but they are capable of becoming carriers for the virus hence Government advice to avoid asking older family members to undertake childcare. The following advice has been issued in the United Kingdom. If you are overseas, please follow local government advice.
- PIMS: the COVID-19 linked syndrome affecting children
This is very rare and has wide ranging symptoms similar to sepsis or meningitis. The RCPCH provides comprehensive information here:
- Government guidance on COVID 19 can be seen here.
- Further advice on symptoms and what to do if you are concerned can be seen here.
- Travel advice can be found here.
- UK Symptom Tracker
Allows people to self report sympoms and is available as an app. Go to covid.joinzoe.com for more information and to download.
- Information for home parenteral nutrition patients from the NHS (updated 27 March)
- Advice for Parents during the Coronavirus including what symptoms require urgent care
These websites are regularly updated and we advise families to check back for the most current advice. We highly recommend that you follow advice received through official channels. There is a lot of information circulating on social media and in the press based on personal opinion and which is not based on expert opinion or evidence.
The National Health Service is working hard to ensure existing resources are concentrated in areas of most need. We are all working together to make sure that we can continue to provide support to all our patients. We have answered some of the most common questions received below. However, you should contact your own surgeon for further advice as every patient’s circumstances are slightly different. BAPS is not able to comment on individual cases.
My outpatient appointment has been changed to a telephone call. Is it safe?
Surgeons have been asked to reduce the number of people coming to hospital to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. Your child’s clinical condition has been reviewed and will be assessed to be safe to offer a telephone consultation. Children with urgent conditions or who require a physical assessment or investigations may still be required to attend hospital appointments. Please notify your surgeon if you or a household member is symptomatic (persistent dry cough and/or high temperature) before attending to allow special arrangements to be made.
My planned surgery has been cancelled. What happens next?
Similar to clinic appointments, surgeons will be reducing planned routine surgeries in order to reduce the risk of virus transmission between patients, to allow more urgent surgeries to be completed and to relieve pressure on hospital resources to allow treatment for increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases. Paediatric Surgeons may be redeployed to other areas in hospitals to assist as the need arises. Patients will be contacted with new surgery dates as soon as possible. If you feel your child’s condition is deteriorating, please contact your surgeon for further advice.
How do I recognise COVID-19 infection?
Symptoms include a persistent dry cough with or without a high temperature. Please follow the advice given by the NHS in the link above.
How can I prevent spread of COVID-19?
Studies show that the virus can survive on surfaces for up to 24 hours. Frequent handwashing for at least 20seconds is the most effective way of combating transmission. Don’t touch your face. Use a tissue to cover your face if you cough or sneeze, dispose of the tissue and immediately wash your hands. More information is available on the NHS website link above.