You will probably be aware by now that, as a result of the COVID-19 situation, we have had to postpone all planned surgery and clinics until we are over the worst of the epidemic. At this stage, we don’t know how long that will be, but it will be much sooner if we all pull together and follow the HSE advice on hand washing, social distancing and reporting symptoms so that we can be tested and isolated early (https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/). Meanwhile, here is some information that you will hopefully find reassuring.
Fortunately, the risk of serious illness in children from COVID-19 is very low and much lower than in adults. However, that risk increases with anaesthesia and recovery from surgery so we have postponed all but really urgent surgery. Also, we need to keep as much of our resource as possible free to deal with a surge of COVID-19 cases.
We are confident that a delay of a few months in your child’s surgery is not going to affect the long term outcomes. When we schedule the surgery we leave plenty of leeway for all sorts of delays and when these happen we have plenty of time to catch up. We are keeping a careful and accurate record of all of the postponed surgery and as soon as things get back to normal we will prioritise the children who have been delayed and work hard to catch up as quickly as possible.
Laura and Claire (our cleft co-ordinators) are keeping account of all of the appointments for the postponed clinics. We will reschedule these when the worst of the crisis has passed and as soon as we get the go ahead. Because we have control over organising and scheduling appointments within the cleft team we can be pretty sure that no-one is going to get missed or forgotten about. Again, we will be back on track and working hard to catch up as soon as things settle down.
During this time there will be babies born with clefts and expectant mothers who get an antenatal diagnosis that their baby has a cleft. We will be making individual arrangements to take care of those families.
We will put up a further message on the website as soon as we are in a position to start rescheduling clinics and surgery. You may also find it useful to access the Children’s Health Ireland website at https://www.chi.ie for general information updates.
Until then, if you have any pressing issues or concerns about your child, please feel free to contact Laura or Claire as usual.
Stay safe and well and follow the HSE guidelines.