NICE publishes COVID-19 guidance on arranging planned care in hospitals and diagnostic services

NICE has published NICE Guideline (NG) 179, COVID-19 rapid guideline: arranging planned care in hospitals and diagnostic services.

The new guidance is intended to help healthcare professionals deliver efficient planned care while minimising the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the context of increasing or decreasing local prevalence. It also aims to help patients make decisions about their planned care.

The guideline is applicable to the care of adults, young people, and children in hospitals and diagnostic settings. Planned care covers elective surgery (day surgery and inpatient stays), interventional procedures, diagnostics, and imaging. It does not include services where people have ongoing outpatient and day-case procedures, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and dialysis.

The guidance is aimed at health and care practitioners, health and care staff involved in planning and delivering services, and commissioners. The recommendations bring together evidence from published literature on COVID-19 and arranging planned care, existing national and international guidance and policies, and advice from specialists working in the NHS from across the UK. These include clinicians and provider organisations delivering planned care services, patients, NHS England and NHS Improvement, and Public Health England.

NG179 includes a one-page visual summary to support decision making.