Patients not attending urgent endoscopies because of fears of Covid-19 are at risk of missing the opportunity for diagnosis and treatment of serious conditions such as cancer, warn doctors.

Around 10% of patients across Kent and Medway are not attending or choosing to delay their endoscopy procedure because of worries about catching the virus.

Patients are urged to attend for their urgent endoscopy because their doctor thinks they may have a serious condition, possibly cancer, which needs investigating.

If you are booked for an endoscopy and are anxious about what to expect, watch the short video below.

However, if you do intend to cancel, please give as much notice as possible so that your appointment can be given to another patient who needs it.

 

Dr Henry Taylor, Clinical Director for the Kent and Medway Cancer Alliance, said: “If you have been referred for an urgent endoscopy, the risk of missing a diagnosis and any possible treatment far outweighs what is a low risk of catching any infection in hospital. I urge you to attend if you can.”

 

Hospital teams are taking significant steps to minimise the risk of Covid-19, which include stringent infection controls and the use of PPE, including a requirement for all staff and patients to wear masks. Only patients without any Covid-19 symptoms are allowed into non-Covid areas of hospitals, where endoscopy clinics are based. Social distancing, hand hygiene and frequent surface cleaning are enforced. In endoscopy units, all clinical staff are in PPE, rooms are deep cleaned after each procedure, including filtering rooms’ air between patients.

For further information about your endoscopy, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/endoscopy/