The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound implications across the breadth of national healthcare services. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) continues to carry an increased risk of colon cancer and national protocols for endoscopic surveillance are in place. Elective procedures such as IBD surveillance were stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic and have been slow to be re-started. We are acutely aware of the pressures on endoscopy services at the present time which is unlikely to improve at the pace needed for services to fully recover. At such times, we need to target this scarce resource to those who need it most, aligned to the principles of ethical healthcare which state that when resources are limited, they should be used to provide the most benefit for as great a number of people as possible. With this in mind, we propose an optional interim framework to aid risk stratification of patients on the IBD surveillance waiting lists where delays to timely surveillance occur. These measures could help address the backlog until a time when clinical services are able to fully recover. Finally, we propose the patient factors to consider when withdrawal of surveillance may be contemplated.
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Churchhouse, A., Moffat, V., Selinger, C., Lamb, Christopher A., Thornton, M., Penman, I. & Din, S. 2022, 'British Society of Gastroenterology interim framework for addressing the COVID-19-related backlog in inflammatory bowel disease colorectal cancer surveillance', Gut. https://doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2022-328309