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COVID-19 and Changes in Neurosurgical Workload in the United Kingdom

Lookup NU author(s): Patrick Mitchell


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© 2021 Elsevier Inc.Background: Cessation of elective procedures and lower bed capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a rise in the waiting lists for surgery, but it is unclear if workload has recovered sufficiently to account for this backlog. We describe the change in neurosurgical workload at a tertiary neurosciences center in the United Kingdom after the first pandemic wave in comparison with the months before and during the first wave. Methods: A retrospective review of theatre records and electronic referrals—between December 1, 2019, and August 31, 2020—was performed. The months of December 2019–February 2020 were designated as pre-COVID months and March–May 2020 were designated as COVID months. The time period from June to August 2020 was designated as post-wave months. Statistical analyses were performed on SPSS v22 (IBM). Results: Referrals declined from 572 in January to a nadir of 352 in April before a steady rise to August. Referral volumes for degenerative spinal disease and traumatic brain injuries showed a statistically significant change during the year. On average, 212 procedures per month were performed in the pre-COVID months, 167 procedures per month during COVID months, and 232 procedures per month in the post-wave months. The number of patients on the waiting list for scheduled operations rose from March (785 patients) onward to a peak of 997 patients in July. Conclusions: In the aftermath of COVID-19, higher referral volumes and operative procedures were apparent in the post-wave months as services returned to normal. With the expectation of a second wave of infections, it is unclear whether this will be sustainable.

Publication metadata

Author(s): ElGhamry AN, Jayakumar N, Youssef M, Shumon S, Mitchell P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: World Neurosurgery

Year: 2021

Volume: 148

Pages: e689-e694

Print publication date: 01/04/2021

Online publication date: 02/02/2021

Acceptance date: 20/01/2021

ISSN (print): 1878-8750

ISSN (electronic): 1878-8769

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.wneu.2021.01.094

PubMed id: 33540092


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