Sussex Cancer patients have their questions answered

New Report – Sussex Cancer Patients have their questions answered

Healthwatch in Sussex responded to patient concerns about cancer services in Sussex.  A webinar was coordinated between three local Healthwatch with the help of Sussex Health and Care Partnership. One hundred people across Sussex registered for the event.

Healthwatch in Sussex arranged for cancer patients and their families to hear from three cancer experts. The event attracted media attention including our facilitator being interviewed by the BBC and Latest TV. The latter can be viewed along with a recording of the event and our event report 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.




*Read our report and watch the cancer webinar and media coverage*


  • Cancer screenings are currently limited: Cervical screenings are being risk-stratified and breast and bowel screenings are in the process of resuming soon.


  • Endoscopy and colonoscopy tests are available but delayed: Patients will be required to undergo 14-day isolation periods prior to both.


  • Patients are urged NOT to hold back from contacting their GP with cancer-related concerns. GPs are open but are using remote communication with patients such as telephone and video consultations.


  • Patients have not been lost in the system: But the focus on handling corona virus patients has created some delays. Rehabilitation services have re-started.


  • Patients SHOULD ATTEND hospital appointments: Appropriate and safe measures are in place to avoid the risk of COVID infection.


  • Movement towards managed self-care: Cancer specialists have reduced unnecessary appointments in favour of self-management at home with specialists contactable when required.


  • Cancer shielding has lifted slightly with 90% of oncology appointments continuing via telephone and video.


  • COVID-19 not as risky to cancer patients undergoing treatment, latest studies show.


  • Clinicians fear an influx of referrals once restrictions are lifted. Figures show a 60% reduction in referrals to cancer specialists and to related services during lockdown.


  • New lockdown methods are here to stay: Telephone and video consultations with GP and hospital staff will continue as a preference for non-essential face-to-face contact.


  • Cancer Support services are still available via Macmillan, now using telephone support and online sessions to reach patients.

To see the full report, please download the document from the Healthwatch website:

*Read the full report*

“The report we have published today jointly with Healthwatch East Sussex and West Sussex, provides answers to important questions asked by cancer patients across the county” said David Liley, Healthwatch Brighton and Hove’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are exploring the restoration and recovery of hospital and care services with the NHS in Sussex, County and City Councils. The reality is that waiting lists, already very long in Sussex, before COVID, are now growing longer. Many services will be compromised for years to come, a 5 year recovery period for NHS services is probably realistic.”

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

David Liley, Chief Officer, Healthwatch Brighton and Hove on

07931 755 343