Leading oncologists have stated that even category 1 and 2 patients, the highest for continuous treatment, do not receive chemotherapy.
The NHS said non-emergency operations should be suspended so hospitals can focus on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, and NHS England guidelines state that cancer services should continue to provide care. However, it also calls for “local solutions to continue the good management of these cancer control services while protecting resources for the response to the coronavirus”.
Professor Karol Sikora, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Rutherford Health, which operates oncology centers, said that the advice provided by the NHS England on cancer was reasonable but was “implemented inconsistently” in all the countries.
“This is still the problem – it becomes inconsistent, so people on chemotherapy have now stopped it even if they are category one and two patients, the highest priority. Some hospitals have also banned the treatment of cancer for two to three weeks… Not everyone needs to rush for cancer treatment, but others must continue despite this to get the best long-term cure, ” did he declare.
Sikora said, “The important thing here is that people with curable cancer are still receiving treatment. The private sector is in talks with NHS England and providers to increase the capacity of NHS patients. “
The doctor said that one of his close friends who worked in gastroenterology had received an email from a nurse telling him “not to bother coming” and that his treatment would be “stopped for the duration of crisis “. “The emotion is very difficult for our patients … everything is uncertain,” he said.
“It is difficult to determine how much you transfer from coronavirus care and how much you say” we must continue to use vital non-emergency but essential services “. The same goes for cardiac care. “
He said there was an “imminent threat” that the cancer centers would close and that all staff would go to the new Nightingale hospitals, built to take coronavirus patients from overcrowded NHS facilities. “I don’t think it will happen. But it is feared that they will abandon all cancer patients. It would be sad if that happened. “
Angus George Dalgleish, professor of oncology at St George’s, University of London, said: “It is difficult. The coronavirus has a devastating impact on the way we provide ordinary care – everything is suspended or delayed. “
Asked if it could mean more indirect deaths from unsupported patients, Dalgleish replied, “We will not know it will all be over.”
“But we are already seeing the effects of patients who will not receive treatment. I heard today that St George is going to have nine rooms full of coronavirus patients. They cannot do this without seriously harming the care of others. “
Laura Lee, executive director of the Maggie’s charity, said patients’ concerns were exacerbated by the current situation. She said, “The government needs to be clearer on the issue, in the same way that it has explored the effects of Covid on, for example, business and employment. In a sense, the fate of Covid is not only with those crossing Covid. “