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Letter to Members and Fellows on CovidSurg and CovidSurg-Cancer

25 Mar 2020

This newspiece is taken from a letter sent to members and fellows of the RCS on 24 March 2020. Updated information and resources from RCS on the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at


Dear RCS Fellows & Members,

We are writing to you in this difficult time to ask for your support in two collaborative audit projects that will give clinicians in the UK, and around the world, high-quality data to support surgical decision making.

CovidSurg is an international, multicentre, pan-specialty study that will evaluate the outcomes of surgical patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection. Capturing real-world data and sharing international experience will inform the management of this complex group of patients who undergo surgery throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, improving their clinical care.

We must also consider the secondary and tertiary impact of COVID-19 on surgical patients. CovidSurg-Cancer will assess the safety of continuing elective cancer surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic, and evaluate the impact of delay to surgery on patient outcomes and treatment pathways.

The studies have been designed by an international collaborating group of surgeons and anaesthetists, with leadership from the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Korea, Singapore, Spain, and the United States. Within one-week of conception, the studies have gained registrations from 2000 collaborators in 900 hospitals across 95 countries. The studies are being supported by the NIHR Unit on Global Surgery and the European Society of Coloproctology, and have gained endorsement by several national and international surgical organisations and associations to date.

These are not studies that will collect data, and wait to report back in 12- to 18-months’ time; data is urgently needed now to guide practice. CovidSurg and CovidSurg-Cancer will feedback early, and regularly, with open-access to short reports and summary data for all investigators. This will allow us to optimise patient selection and perioperative processes to maintain patient safety during this unprecedented period of uncertainty.

To read more, and to register your centre for either, or both studies, please visit


  • Professor Derek Alderson, RCSEng President
  • Professor Peter Hutchinson, Director of Clinical Research at RCSEng
  • Professor Dion Morton, Global Surgery Lead at RCSEng

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