Press release: Sussex Cancer Patients Quiz Cancer Experts Live Online

Sussex Cancer Patients Quiz Cancer Experts Live Online

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 (HSJ) 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 (see links at the bottom of this press release for further detail).

The impact for some cancer patients could be profound.

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

“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.”

Healthwatch in Sussex arranged for cancer patients and their families to hear from three cancer experts. Over 1000 people showed an interest in the Webinar and over 100 registered to attend. A recording of the Webinar is available on the Healthwatch website:

Dr Mathew Thomas, Cancer GP lead for East Sussex



Dr Richard Simcock, consultant clinical oncologist at the Sussex Cancer Centre




Scarlett Jinman-Dunt, a former oncology nurse now working for Macmillan.




*Watch the cancer webinar*

The Cancer experts told local people:

·         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 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.

On waiting times, the experts said:

·         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 today:

“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.”

For additional information, comment, and links to people for interview please contact:

David Liley, CEO, Healthwatch Brighton and Hove

07931 755 343

HSJ article on “Waiting times rising by week, every week”

HSJ article on “Urgent cancer treatment down 60 per cent in April”