COVID-19: Patients

Below is some important information for patients who may have questions about their surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic. This page is updated regularly with the latest guidance.  More general patient information is available on our main Patients page.

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Coronavirus BOA FAQs for patients

The Coronavirus BOA FAQs are to help and support members and patients with questions. We are monitoring the national and global situation and following guidance issued by Public Health England and in the Department of Health and Social Care’s coronavirus action plan. We are also liaising with Royal Colleges and other Surgical Associations to keep abreast as the situation develops and have put together the  FAQs which will be updated as the situation evolves.



Current BOA position regarding elective activity, waiting lists and restart

11 Dec 2020 - In late-March 2020, all non-urgent elective operations and most outpatient clinic appointments were cancelled. Elective operating resumed gradually over the late spring and summer, but the progress in restarting elective orthopaedics has been slower than most other specialties.



Information for patients having steroid injections in the upper limb or hand during the Coronavirus pandemic

23 Oct 2020 - The BOA, BSSH and BESS have published this patient information leaflet regarding steroid injection in the hand or upper limb during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes some information on additional risks of injection during COVID-19, and we hope it will be helpful to both members and patients. 

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A message from the BOA to patients waiting for surgery

25 Sept 2020 - We are acutely aware of the still growing waiting lists that are affecting all planned surgery, but particularly orthopaedics (bone and joint treatment) which has the largest overall waiting list of any individual specialty. 



Resource for patients for shared decision making that covers a range of musculoskeletal issues relating to vaccination (including surgery and steroid injection).

GMC information on vaccines.

Preparing for surgery

Information from the Royal College of Surgeons of England to help patients understand what's different about undergoing surgery during the pandemic.

• Centre for Perioperative Care have some useful FAQs for patients having an operation during the COVID-19 pandemic, to help them know what might be different and how to prepare.

Resources for patients awaiting surgery

What to do while you are waiting for your joint replacement surgery. The BOA recently worked with Health Awareness on the 2020 Arthritis & You campaign which featured this article by Bob Handley. 

• For those awaiting hip and knee surgery, the Escape Pain App (for Android only) or online tool provides support to help you stay active at home.

• For anyone seeking help to managing bone, joint or muscle pain at home, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has a collection of excellent resources to support you. 

• Royal College of Anaesthetists' Fitter Better Sooner resources.

• Joint School App has information, exercises and tools for people who have had hip or knee replacements postponed. 

We are Undefeatable, 5 in 5 – Accessible exercises for a 5 minute workout. 

• Versus Arthritis – downloadable exercises sheets for knee pain, hip pain, and back pain.

• Mental Health charity Mind has webpages about COVID and your wellbeing

• If you are struggling with your health (including both physical and mental health) while you wait for surgery, please consult your GP or orthopaedic consultant for advice. Despite the difficulties, both are still ‘open for business’ and they would wish to hear from you.

Other groups and organisations

Arthritis and COVID-19 – your questions answered (External resource from Versus Arthritis). Versus Arthritis also have a COVID ‘virtual assistant’ (COVA) or traditional helpline.

Patients Association.

ARMA (Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance) is an umbrella body bringing together patient organisations and professional bodies representing the breadth of musculoskeletal health.