Coronavirus (Covid-19) Advice
The following information and advice on COVID-19 (coronavirus) includes general guidance from the government and the NHS as well as specific guidance for people with cancer. The government’s guidance is now being updated regularly, so for the most current information, please click here.
And for further specific government guidance see:
- What you can and cannot do
- Staying alert and safe (social distancing)
- Face covering
- Staying safe outside your home
- Shielding – How to protect clinically extremely vulnerable people
You can also find government information to help at this time, including on employment, financial support, school closures and childcare, here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
As lockdown begins to be eased and the specific government guidelines are being updated, the general advice for everyone remains as follows:
- Wash your hands regularly
- Use hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- Wear a face covering when travelling on public transport, or in situations where social distancing is not possible.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Do not leave home if you or anyone in the household has symptoms of COVID-19
- Use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services
Will coronavirus affect my cancer treatment?
Clinicians will always do their utmost to prioritise treatment for those most in need and in consultation with patients.
Most hospitals are now using telephone and virtual consultations as a way of helping people to avoid long waits in clinics and for treatment. You may be called to arrange your treatments in this way, and planned treatments may need to be moved to help with running a smooth service.
Your clinical team are best placed to talk with you about the effect on your treatment and appointments. They will work with you to determine the best course of action in each individual situation. If you have any concerns or questions about your treatment, please speak to your clinical team.
For further information re cancer treatments, see the Q&A document below.
In March 2020, at the start of the pandemic the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) issued guidance on clinical trials, and many non-COVID-19 clinical trials were temporarily halted. As of 13 July, while the priority continues to be COVID-19 research, the NIHR has stated that wherever possible, the restoration of the broad range of clinical trials should begin.
You should contact your clinical team with questions about your individual treatment, including any trials you are taking part in or are interested in.
Summary of key points for patients (as at 04 June 2020)
The government has asked charities to share these key points with patients about cancer services during the current period of restoration and recovery from COVID-19 pandemic
“The NHS is currently moving into the next phase of its response to the COVID-19 outbreak: to restore and recover all services for patients. If you need to access care or treatment for suspected or diagnosed cancer, arrangements have been put in place to keep you safe from COVID-19.
If you have a worrying symptom, and you think it might be cancer, please contact your GP surgery straightaway. GP surgeries are offering online consultations and/or remote triage so that people do not have to attend in person unnecessarily.
If you have been asked to go to hospital for further investigation or for treatment if you are diagnosed with cancer, it is important that you attend. The NHS is reorganising the way that it delivers services to keep you safe:
- COVID protected hubs have been established for cancer surgery across the country to keep patients safe. These are in COVID protected areas of a hospital or on separate hospital sites. The model is now being expanded to cover diagnostics too.
- Wider measures are also being taken by all hospitals treating COVID patients to ensure that COVID and non-COVID patients are kept separate. This may include using separate entrances for COVID and non-COVID patients, ensuring staff and patients do not move between different parts of the hospital, and making sure that, as far as possible, staff are social distancing both inside and outside clinical areas.
- The staff caring for cancer patients will be vigilant for any symptoms that they or their families are showing and are required to self-isolate in line with government guidance. Staff will be tested for the virus if they are displaying symptoms. Hospitals are also introducing testing for staff not displaying symptoms where there is testing capacity to do so.
All patients can support NHS staff to maintain COVID-protected environments by being aware of any symptoms they or their family may be displaying, and by following the advice of the clinical teams working with them. If a patient is uncertain whether they should come into the hospital, they should discuss this with their clinical team.”
For more advice on coronavirus when you have cancer click here
(This advice was updated 04 June, 2020)
For updated information on the coronavirus, please refer to:
Advice on GP online service: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Government information on employment, financial support, school closures and childcare: click here
Advice for the public from the WHO: click here
PHE (Public Heath England) Travel Guidelines: click here
For information on the government’s funeral restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here