New guidelines on surgical patient safety and COVID-19

07 February 2022

Read our new prof doc Living guidance: Surgical patient safety in relation to COVID-19 infection and vaccination

We’re pleased to announce the publication of the first edition of our new professional document PG68(A) Living guidance: Surgical patient safety in relation to COVID-19 infection and vaccination. These guidelines provide current advice to our fellows, trainees and specialist international medical graduates on navigating surgical patient safety concerns in the rapidly changing environment of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This document has been produced via a review of best available clinical evidence and of relevant health sector, regulatory and government body guidance. As living guidance, it will be reviewed and updated frequently. Before making use of it, please always check you have the latest version, via the college website. Key content includes:

  • Safest timing of elective surgery after a confirmed COVID-19 infection, including considerations for time-sensitive surgery such as cancer.
  • Determining whether patients are still infectious.
  • Patient health assessment and optimisation for surgery after COVID-19 infection.
  • Optimal timing of COVID-19 vaccination before or after surgery.
  • Major known side effects of COVID-19 vaccines and their incidence, detection and initial management.

Thank you to the COVID-19 Surgery Living Guidance Working Group members Dr Vanessa Beavis, ANZCA President, Past ANZCA President Professor David A Scott, Perioperative Medicine Special Interest Group Chair Dr Jill Van Acker and Dr Joreline (Jay) Van Der Westhuizen for developing the document.

We invite suggestions and contributions for future versions, via email to

Last updated 13:46 17.05.2022