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Resuming cleft care

Resuming cleft care

Resuming cleft care: summary of statement from the national Cleft Development Group (CDG)

The peak of the UK coronavirus pandemic crisis is over and the NHS is starting to resume routine services, so we need to understand how cleft services fit into this process.

Since lockdown began cleft teams have contacted families and patients by telephone and video calls to keep in touch, continue therapy and make new plans. In some areas Clinical Nurse Specialists have continued visits to see new-borns and there has been emergency dental and surgical treatment.

On 6th June 2020, the CDG agreed that cleft surgery and face to face clinics will only resume where patient and clinician safety can be ensured.

All cleft services will be reviewing and prioritising their waiting lists based on clinical need.

What does this mean for my child?

There is national agreement that services should slowly start surgery for the following groups of patients within 3 months:

  • Babies for primary lip and palate repair
  • Children for priority speech surgery
  • Children for alveolar bone graft surgery.

Other patients waiting for surgery will not be forgotten and centres will plan to carry out more surgery as soon as it is possible.

All NHS Trust hospitals will have local procedures for testing and isolation before surgery to make sure it is a safe as possible for the patient and the hospital team. In most cases this will include self-isolation 14 days before coming into hospital and a coronavirus swab 24-72 hours before admission.

You will receive specific instructions for your child. A positive coronavirus swab prior to surgery will result in surgery being postponed for a minimum of 6 weeks.

Face to face clinics will also slowly start again and decisions about essential appointments will be taken by cleft teams locally and will follow local and national infection control guidelines. Patients that do not need face to face appointments straight away will be contacted by telephone or video call until the coronavirus pandemic is over or until such time that a face to face appointment is essential.