Summary of COVID-19 medicines guidance: Surgery

David Erskine, Director, London Medicines Information Services, Specialist Pharmacy ServicePublished

This page summarises and signposts to medicine related guidance we’re aware of from professional and government bodies relating to coronavirus and surgery.

This page has been put together rapidly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whilst we have tried to ensure that the information on this page is complete, please report a concern if you feel anything is omitted or inaccurate.

To see our professional guidance summaries for other clinical areas, click here

Advice in this area includes:


NICE:  COVID-19 rapid guideline: haematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Updated 29 July 2020

  • Be aware that patients having haematopoietic stem cell transplantation are immunocompromised and may have atypical presentations of COVID‑19. Symptoms of COVID‑19, neutropenic sepsis and viral pneumonitis may be difficult to differentiate at initial presentation.
  • Advice on timing stem cell transplants in patients and donors with COVID-19 and on shielding and protecting transplant donors/recipients pre and post transplant are provided.
  • For stem cell mobilisation in adults having autologous HSCT, use granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) alone to minimise the use of chemotherapy priming. See the BSBMTCT recommendations for the management of adult patients and allogeneic donors during the COVID-19 outbreak.


Royal College Surgeons EnglandRecovery of surgical services during and after COVID-19

Updated 30 June 2020

Provides an overview of considerations that should be part of any decision to resume elective surgery services. A checklist and risk assessment tool is also provided . Nothing specific on medicines or pharmacy services. Template advice for patients addressing common concerns and advice on virtual consultations are also available.


Royal College Anaesthetists: Restarting planned surgery in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

Published 1st May 2020

This document structures considerations relevant to the return to planned surgery in four broad categories: Space, Staff, Stuff (equipment) and Systems (the four S’s). Within each category, preparedness for a return to activity is RAG-rated, ie Red (not ready for a return), Amber (close to being ready for a return) and Green (ready for a return). Shortages of key medicines is categorised as red (not ready for a return) and adequate supplies but uncertain supply chain is categorised as amber (close to ready for a return).


Royal College Surgeons (England): Clinical guide to surgical prioritisation during the coronavirus pandemic

Updated 27 November 2020

This document provides a list of surgical procedures broken down in terms of recommended maximum delivery timeframes. The list is presented in terms of procedures that should be delivered within 24 hours, within 72 hours, within 1 month, within 3 months and over 3 months.

Administration update (29th December 2020): administrative amendments made to the page only