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University Hospitals Dorset
Home » Patients and visitors » Coronavirus guidance » Non-urgent elective operations and procedures

Non-urgent elective operations and procedures

In line with other hospitals in England, we are now starting to resume non-urgent elective operations. Please be reassured that if you already had a consultation or surgery planned, your name will have remained on our lists and you will be contacted to arrange a date for your admission. If the date you are given is inconvenient, you will not be removed from the waiting list, we will simply try to offer you a more convenient date. Please do not contact us unless your circumstances have changed.

Our waiting lists have been divided into groups based on risk, taking into account factors such as age and underlying health conditions.

We successfully opened our Derwent theatre and ward on 1 July, but because of additional safety measures, we are not yet able to treat as many patients per day as we did before Covid-19. Many of the staff who usually work in elective surgery were relocated to other areas to provide support during the pandemic and a phased plan for their return is now underway. This should increase the number of surgeries we are able to complete over the coming months.

Please note - NICE guidance and national news coverage has indicated a change of isolation requirements from 14 days before and after surgery for you and your household, to three days. You are strongly advised to shield for 14 days immediately after your operation.

If you are struggling while waiting for surgery, please contact:

  • Your GP practice who may advise us of clinical changes and offer medication in the meantime to help control your symptoms.
  • The Dorset Musculoskeletal website where you will find a selection of self-help guidance with some videos.

Treatment in another hospital

We are working very hard with our partner hospitals around the region. This may mean that your surgery takes place in another hospital. Some of our patients are already being treated at Bournemouth Nuffield while still under the care of the NHS. This is not something new but rather an expansion of NHS services already in place in independent hospitals.

If your surgery is scheduled at another hospital, you will not have to start your treatment programme again and it is important for you to know that your safety and quality of care would not be any less than we would offer at this hospital. This alternative will be offered to patients who have either been waiting the longest, or whose case has been identified as urgent by a consultant.


Many of our outpatient clinics have been continuing to run, however to ensure people only visit hospital when absolutely necessary, a number of appointments are now successfully carried out by telephone or video. This also allows us to reduce our waiting lists quickly and saves the inconvenience of attending hospital and incurring parking charges.

Please be reassured that everyone with a planned operation will have the opportunity for at least one face to face conversation and examination with their surgical team prior to their operation.

Please continue to attend appointments unless you are notified by us. If you cannot attend because you are self-isolating or do not want to attend, please inform us.

We apologise for the inconvenience this causes but the safety of our patients must remain a top priority and it is important to ensure we fully comply with the actions taken by government to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

If you are worried please call the number on your appointment letter.

Cancelling your operation or outpatient procedure

If you are considering not attending an appointment in the next week, please contact the number on your appointment letter.

Face coverings

If you are coming to hospital as a visitor or for planned outpatient care, you must wear a face covering at all times. This is for your safety and the safety of other patients and staff. The Government has also urged the public not to buy medical grade/surgical masks so they can be saved for frontline health and care workers, and instead make their own face coverings at home. The key points are that it should cover the mouth and nose and be washed regularly. Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are also acceptable, providing they are not loose and cover the mouth and nose. Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing and regular handwashing which remain the most important actions for the protection against Covid-19.

Now more than ever we need you to tell us if you are not coming.