COVID-19: ENT service guide

June 2020


This information provides guidance on the management of ENT patients by the Royal Devon & Exeter Foundation Trust during the Covid-19 pandemic. The information is based on ….

National guidance

​2WW referrals

Will continue and will be subject to rigorous triaging by the senior ENT team.

a) appropriate patients with neck lumps will be seen in the Thursday am Neck Lump Clinic

b) appropriate thyroid lump patients will be seen in a Friday am One Stop thyroid clinic (currently not running every week)

c) all other patients will be triaged/ screened using a risk calculator, telephoned triaged, and those needing face to face will be seen in clinic with appropriate PPE for examination / nasendoscopy

​Conditions with specific guidance

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSNHL)

ENT UK's guidelines advise against the use of oral steroids to treat SSNHL during the pandemic.

The use of intratympanic steroids is cautiously approved, but the relative risks need to be discussed with the patient first, so all SSNHL patients will need to be referred so that discussion can take place.

​Urgent referrals

Will be triaged using telephone consultations.

Many will be deemed as able to wait for several months, but the safety net will be a phone number (our secretaries) for the patient in difficulty.

Consultant Secretaries phone numbers:
  • Mr R Garth: 01392 403725
  • Mr M Hilton: 01392 402892
  • Mr A Husband: 01392 402843
  • Mr G Weiner: 01392 402805
  • Mrs H Wilson: 01392 402897
  • Mr J Smith: 01392 402804
  • Mr M Abo-Khatwa: 01392 404768

Lost/broken hearing aids impacting on ability to manage safely during crisis (paediatrics or adults).

Patient can contact us directly, or anyone on their behalf, for any queries tel: 01392 402223 Monday – Friday 9.15am – 4pm

  • Patients are being asked to post items, rather than visiting the clinics. When sending the hearing aid, please post to Audiology Department RD&E Barrack Road, Exeter EX2 5DW
  • Batteries are being posted on request

​Routine referrals


Adult hearing loss & tinnitus

Refer via DRSS. We are completing telephone assessments to identify best pathway for patient and streamline later appointments.

Paediatric hearing loss

Refer via DRSS, but will not be seen until situation changes.

All new routine referrals will be clinically triaged and will either be added to a waiting list or, if appropriate, Advice & Guidance (A&G) will be given.

Please ensure that a practice-based system is in place to check daily for returning referrals with Advice & Guidance (A&G).

Prior to making a routine referral, please ensure that any appropriate Policy or Clinical Referral Guidline (CRG) has been reviewed and that all the suggested investigations and management options have been considered.

Eastern locality ENT & Audiology Clinical Referral Guidelines (CRGs)

Existing new and follow-up routine appointments have been cancelled and changed to telephone / video consultation where appropriate.

​Urgent advice

We are still maintaining an emergency service via ENT registrar on call, telephone: 01392 411611 and ask for ENT registrar.

Many patients may not be examined in the usual way due to the high aerosol infection risk present even in some asymptomatic patients.

​Covid 19 High risk patient advice

Please contact on call consultant in ENT, telephone: 01392 411611 and ask for the on call ENT consultant.

This guideline has been signed off on behalf of the NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group

Publication Date: June 2020

This guideline has been signed off on behalf of the NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group

Publication Date: June 2020

Last updated: 19-06-2020


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