Urological service provision during the COVID-19 period: the experience from an Irish tertiary centre.

Urological service provision has changed dramatically with the advent of the SARS-CoV-2, necessitating restructuring and reorganization. The aim of this study was to review the reorganization of our unit, map the change in volume of departmental activities and discuss potential solutions.

Departmental activities over the months of April and May 2020 and 2019 were analysed. Details of admissions, operations, diagnostic procedures, outpatient reviews, morbidities and mortalities were recorded. Operations were performed on two sites, with elective operation transferred to an offsite, COVID-free hospital.

Seventy-four emergency operations were performed onsite, with 85 elective operations outsourced. A total of 159 operations were performed, compared with 280 in the same period in 2019. Five (5.0%) of 101 admitted patients to the COVID hospital contracted COVID-19. No patients outsourced to the COVID-free hospital were infected there. Outpatient referrals to urology service decreased from 928 to 481. There was a 66% decrease in new cancer diagnoses. A virtual review clinic was established, with remaining outpatients reviewed through a telephone clinic platform.

Compared with 2019, we performed fewer operations and outpatient procedures, had fewer admissions and diagnosed fewer patients with new cancers. However, outsourcing elective operation to designated non-COVID hospitals prevented the infection of any patient with COVID-19 in the post-operative period. The use of virtual clinic and telephone clinic has had some success in replacing traditional outpatient visits. The overall significant decrease in operative volume will likely precipitate a mismatch between demand and service provision in the coming months, unless capacity is increased.

Irish journal of medical science. 2020 Aug 27 [Epub ahead of print]

Patrick M Collins, Aideen Madden, Clare O'Connell, Shawgi Abdelrazig Omer, Mohammud Shakeel Inder, Rowan G Casey, Robert J Flynn, Arun Z Thomas, Lisa G Smyth, Rustom P Manecksha

Department of Urology, Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland., Department of Urology, Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. .