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<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> <jats:sec> <jats:title>Purpose</jats:title> <jats:p>As surgical specialties now begin the graduated return to elective activity and face-to-face clinics, this paper investigates the current head and neck outpatient practices across the United Kingdom.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title>Methods</jats:title> <jats:p>A cross-sectional study comprised of an online 20-item survey was distributed to members of the British Association of Head &amp; Neck Oncologists (BAHNO). The survey was open on a web-based platform and covered topics including safety measures for patients, protective equipment for healthcare staff and protocols for the use of flexible nasendoscopy in the clinic.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title>Results</jats:title> <jats:p>The survey was completed by 117 participants covering 66 NHS Trusts across the UK. There was a significant reduction in face-to-face Otolaryngology, Maxillofacial and Speech and Language clinic patients when compared to pre-pandemic numbers (<jats:italic>p</jats:italic> &lt; 0.0001). Risk assessments for flexible nasendoscopy were done for 69% of clinics and 58% had an established protocol. Room downtime after flexible nasendoscopy ranged from 0 to 6 h and there was a significant increase in allocated downtime after a patient had coughed/sneezed (<jats:italic>p</jats:italic> &lt; 0.001). Natural ventilation existed in 36% of clinics and the majority of responders didn’t know the Air Change Per Hour (ACPH) of the clinic room (77%). Where ACPH was known, it often did not match the allocated room downtime.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title>Conclusion</jats:title> <jats:p>There is a wide variation in outpatient activity across the United Kingdom, but adaptations are being made to try and maintain staff and patient safety. However, more can still be done by liaising with allied teams to clarify outpatient protocols.</jats:p> </jats:sec>

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/s00405-020-06458-x

Type

Journal article

Journal

European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Date

06/11/2020