Preparing for your surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic

Owing to the worsening situation with the Coronavirus pandemic, in line with NHS London guidance, we had stopped all planned (elective) procedures and operations at the end of December 2020.  We were supporting Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust by providing additional Intensive care capacity and acute medical beds.  

With fewer patients now requiring hospital admission and intensive care treatment for Covid-19, the situation in our local area has improved. We are pleased to report that we have resumed admitting patients for elective surgery on 15th March 2021. 

If your surgery has been delayed, we regret the inconvenience that you have experienced. If you are due to have surgery with us in the near future, a member of our scheduling team will contact you to inform you of the date for your planned surgery.

If you have any questions please contact the following telephone number: 01372 735 801.  


Surgery during the pandemic
Undergoing surgery now that COVID-19 is around is not the same as it was before. To understand how circumstances have changed please read the section on Information on Surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Additional risks of surgery
Your surgeon will have discussed the risks and benefits of your operation and any alternatives to surgery when your name was put forward for surgery. You may have been asked to sign a consent form for the operation. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic the balance of risks relating to surgery has changed. There are additional risks that are described in the Supplementary consent form. Please read this carefully and make a note of anything you do not understand or if you have any questions. Your consultant or a member of their team will call you to discuss these matters with you.

We have a duty to choose who we bring into hospital based on risk and priority. You will be contacted by a nurse from the SWLEOC pre-assessment team to assess your health and any underlying conditions and to arrange any tests that you may need in preparation for surgery. Based on this assessment, the pre-assessment nurse will advise you of your level of risk based on the American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) grading system. If your operation is deemed very high risk then you may be advised to delay your operation.

Enhanced precautions surrounding surgery
We also need co-operation from yourself in terms of preparing for your surgery and maximising not only your safety, but the safety of others around you. This will require you to take enhanced precautions for 14 days before your operation and for 14 days after your operation. The level of precautions that you will be asked to follow will depend on your level of risk and ASA grading as follows:

Category A (Lower risk): If you are deemed to be ASA category I or II OR if you are having an Injection, Aspiration or Manipulation you will be asked to follow the guidance in Leaflet A - Comprehensive Social distancing before and after surgery.

Category B (Higher risk): If you are deemed to be in ASA category III or higher OR if you are having two joints replaced at the same time OR if you are having a revision joint replacement, you will be asked to follow the guidance in Leaflet B - Self-isolation before and after surgery.

You will be assigned to a category (A or B) by the pre-assessment nurse. You will be sent these documents by post (and email if you choose). It is important that you follow the correct guidance document. We will call you to make sure you have received and read these documents and give you a chance to ask questions. Your Consultant will also do the same.


Coronavirus vaccine and Surgery
With the UK vaccination programme progressing at pace, there are some considerations that you should be aware of, if you have received the Coronavirus vaccine or are due to receive it in the near future. These issues are discussed in the document Guidance around surgery and the COVID-19 vaccination.

As long as you are comfortable with what you have read, you can comply with the instructions and stay safe and healthy, then we will be able to do our best to look after you and get an excellent result from your operation.

You may choose to defer your operation to a later date after reading this information. If you wish to defer your operation please call SWLEOC admissions on 01372 735801.


Here at SWLEOC, we use a web-based system called Lifebox to enable you to conveniently and securely provide us with your medical history. This will enable you to upload your medical history remotely, so that we can carry out your pre-operative assessment over the telephone, which will save you time and an extra attendance to the hospital. We do also offer an assisted digital service, if you are unable to access online facilities. Your information will be kept securely as part of your health record and only accessed by those involved in providing your care.

If you have any questions (or if you or someone else is unable to access the system) please contact 01372 735 429

Lifebox privacy statement available here:

You can find the Trusts full privacy notice here which sets out how we use your information and how you can make a subject access request.