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Dubai: Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has lifted the ban on all elective surgeries, meaning hospitals and day care centres can now treat patients for non-essential operations after a freeze of nearly a month and a half due to coronavirus restrictions.

Surgeries include corrective and therapeutic surgeries that can be carried out under topical, local and regional anesthesia.

A circular dated May 8 came into effect on May 10 and seeks to revise the previous circular dated March 25 that had completely banned all elective surgeries that include cosmetic and corrective surgeries.

Dr Atul Aundhekar, CEO of Avivo Group that owns about 44 health care facilities across UAE welcomed the revised circular as the first step to economic revival for health care facilties.

“We have already implemented this decision across many of our facilities,” he said.

Dr Atul Aundhekar

“This circular includes surgeries such as all corrective and reconstructive aesthetic and cosmetic procedures that can be done under local anesthesia with mild sedation not lasting more than 15 minutes. These can include rhinoplasty, face lifts, chemical peels in the area of aesthetics and cosmetics. It also includes many minimally invasive or laproscopy surgeries such as knee arthoscopy, stomach endoscopies, hernia corrections, C-sections for women undergoing child birth, removal of fibroids in the uterus as well as laprscopic hysterectomies. Many of these surgeries can be done with regional anaesthesia which include spinal blocks and other neuroaxial regional blocks,” he added.

A huge finacial relief for health care centres

Smaller hospitals have welcomed the decision as this has come as a huge financial relief for them. The general manager of a stand-alone health care facility in Dubai who did not want to be named said: “We were facing a great financial crunch as the expense on implementing the new COVID 19 protocol in terms of sanitsation, hygiene and Personal Protection Equipment was huge. Many of our affected staff was on paid leave. Now after being provided the permission to carry out some of the elective surgeries we will be able to ease off this financial crunch.”

Decision will bring relief in pain to patients

Dr Wadeh Shaker Al Judi, consultant and chair of surgery at Prime Hospital said the decision would help avert any elective surgeries turning critical after waiting for so long. Certain surgeries such as those for abdominal hernia correction are not emergency surgeries but the patient does undergo discomfort and if neglected for long can lead to stomach ulcers etc.

Dr Wadeh Al Judi

“The DHA’s decision to partially resume elective and corrective surgeries under local and regional anesthesia will not only help patients in pain who require corrective and therapeutic surgeries but will help the health sector move rapidly towards normalcy,” he said.

Dental and ENT still under bannned list

The circular further says that despite the easing of the ban all other protocols such mandatory temperature screenign of all those entering the facility, wearing of the PPE by the health care staff, a gap of at least 20 minutes between two surgeries to sanitise the place, continuous sterlisation of operation theatres, procedures to be carried out strictly by appointment to avoid any overcrowding, among other rules previously estbalished, have to be followed. Any surgery that has the aerosol impact (where spraying results in a mixture of gas which could include the virus and solid particles being suspended in air for a long period) such as dental and ENT surgeries continue to be banned.

Surgery under general anesthesia is allowed only in emergency cases and if a patient has to undergo GA, the COVID-19 swab test is mandatory.