How to get cancer support during COVID-19 - expert advice

Since the pandemic there have been many concerns around getting cancer treatment and support. Healthwatch Sussex heard from cancer experts about their latest advice. Read more to find out what they said.
A doctor smiling in a hospital

The NHS announced much longer waiting times for diagnosis and treatment as health and care services enter the restore and recovery stages of the COVID-19 response.

The Health Service Journal says that the number of cancer patients receiving urgent treatments fell by 60% during April and overall hospital waiting lists are growing by a week, every week.

The impact on patients

For some cancer patients, the impact could be profound.

David Liley, Chief Officer, Healthwatch Brighton and Hove, said:

“For people, whose cancer treatment moves from operable to inoperable while they sit on a waiting list, this will be a personal and family tragedy. But it’s not the NHS that is doing this to people, it is the knock-on impact of the virus.”

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Hear from the experts

In a recent webinar, Healthwatch Sussex arranged for cancer patients and their families to hear from three cancer experts about their experience of dealing with patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what patients should know in order to get the treatment they need.

The main takeaway messages were:

  • The NHS is open for business
    It is essential that people with Cancer concerns bring those to their GP, or to their specialist if they are already in touch with cancer services.
  • New methods to get the help you need
    New methods for screening, diagnosis, consultation, and treatment have been developed over the COVID-19 lockdown – help is available.
  • Do not delay in seeking help
    Your safety and the safety of staff is the priority of the NHS.
  • Getting the treatment you need
    Despite the COVID-19 lockdown, cancer treatments can be made available on a very urgent basis – within two weeks if necessary. The NHS has provided additional cancer services using private hospital beds, purchased at NHS prices and available free for NHS patients.

Fran McCabe, Chair of Healthwatch Brighton and Hove said:

“It will be reassuring for local people to hear about the heroic efforts being made by the NHS to help people with cancer. However, screening and treatment targets in Sussex were already challenging before the COVID-19 crisis. We are now looking at cancer and other services which might be compromised for years to come. It is more important than ever that people seek help immediately and help the NHS to restore services and recover from the impact of the virus.”

Watch the video

To watch the video and get all the information on the webinar:

Cancer Webinar: Key Themes & Q&A - 11th June 2020

Additional Information

If you'd like any additional information or help in getting the support you need, contact us.

David Liley, CEO

07931 755 343

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