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    Elective ambulatory unit: experience of local anesthetic only surgery during the pandemic

    Jeans, Edward, Talwalkar, Sumedh, Gebrye, Tadesse ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7976-2013, Yeowell, Gillian ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3872-9799, Fatoye, Francis ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3502-3953 and Hayton, Mike (2023) Elective ambulatory unit: experience of local anesthetic only surgery during the pandemic. Hand. ISSN 1558-9447

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    Abstract

    Background: The second COVID-19 wave severely limited access to elective surgery. Methods: Between December 2020 and May 2021, 530 patients underwent a procedure in the elective ambulatory unit (EAU), a walk-in and walk-out model of surgery, and we used a prepandemic cohort of day-case patients for comparison. Results: We have had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 transmission on-site. The infection rate for EAU and day-case units for carpal tunnel decompression was 1.36% and 2%, respectively, and this difference was not significant, P = .696. Patient satisfaction was excellent at 9.8 of 10. The waiting time from primary care referral to carpal tunnel decompression was cut from 36 weeks to 12 weeks during the study period. Significant benefit in efficiency and cost saving was also found. Conclusion: Elective ambulatory unit provides a template to perform high-volume low-complexity hand and wrist surgery in a safe, efficient, and cost-effective manner.

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