The European Cleft Organisation along with cleft specialists across Europe are aware that the current health crisis is having a significant impact on surgery and treatment of babies and children born with clefts. In many cases regular clinic appointments have had to be postponed and surgery has been put on hold until our health systems have regained hospital capacity and until it is safe to carry out planned surgery. We are currently working with our health professional colleagues in trying to ascertain the exact situation in each country. We are also keen to ensure that hospitals are aware of the needs of infants and children with clefts so that once the current crisis is over, cleft treatment will be prioritised according to need and age and taking into account a consensus opinion from cleft clinicians. This consultation with professional cleft colleagues throughout Europe is ongoing.
From such consultations, we hope to i) develop resources that help and support cleft teams across Europe to prioritise and deliver care, as things start returning to normal after COVID 19 ii) learn how we can all prepare better for the impact of any future pandemic on cleft care.