Publication of cancer surgery “priorities” as coronavirus pressure increases

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Cancer patients may be referred to different health boards for surgery as the pressure on the coronavirus rises.

An NHS recovery plan, released today, includes advice on how to get patients and staff away from Covid-19 infection in hospitals.

Patients will be classified into four priority levels, the first for those who require 24-hour operations. Some surgeries may be delayed by more than three months as part of the plan.

The “frame”, published by the Scottish government, says there should be a physical separation of positive and negative Covid-19 patients “if possible”.

Local demand could be eased by using beds in the Scottish regions. This could include the use of the NHS Golden Jubilee National Hospital and independent sites.

The plan follows the emergency suspension of certain procedures and tests while Scotland is preparing for coronavirus in hospitals.

He says: “As the planned cancer surgery resumes, it is essential that care is provided in a safe, effective and sustainable manner while recognizing the need to care for COVID-19 patients in the acute hospital sector. “

Marion O’Neill, of Cancer Research UK, welcomed the new plans but insisted that effective screenings, diagnostic tests and treatments be “restored without delay”, adding, “Patients’ lives depend on it.”

She said it will require intensified testing to ensure the cancer treatment and diagnosis areas are safe for patients.



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Janice Preston of Macmillan Cancer Support said, “It is vital that cancer does not become the forgotten C when we are dealing with Covid-19, and this is an important step forward.”

The plans were confirmed today by Secretary of Health Jeane Freeman. One of the most difficult aspects of the fight against the coronavirus, she said, “The postponement or delay of certain cancer treatments, knowing the profound impact it would have on so many people.

“This is why we are taking action to ensure the continued priority of cancer as we begin to take over the services of the NHS. We ask health boards across Scotland to prioritize cancer treatment in the same way and to work together to ensure that patients are treated as soon as possible within these priorities. “

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