Our priority over the last few months has been ensuring that everyone who needs cancer treatment and urgent and essential care has been able to get it when they need it.
To reduce the spread of the virus by avoiding unnecessary contact, some non-urgent appointments, diagnostic procedures and planned surgeries were postponed or replaced with telephone or video consultations.
We will ask patients to attend face-to-face services only when it is clinically necessary. Where possible, appointments will continue to be offered using remote services such as a video or phone consultation. If you attend our sites then you must wear a face covering or mask and you will undergo a brief health screen at the front door to check your temperature and ensure you are directed to the correct area.
Wherever possible we ask that you attend alone, if you require any assistance or support we will endeavour to provide this.
If you are in a high-risk group and do not wish to come in, please get in touch with the relevant service via the contact details in your appointment letter.
Clinically extremely vulnerable
Some patients have been identified as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. These patients include:
- those with specific cancers:
- people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
- people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
- people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
- people having other targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
- people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
Cancer care in Kent and Medway
Cancer services remain a priority for the NHS in Kent and Medway and are continuing as far as possible, despite the unprecedented challenges the NHS is currently facing from Covid-19.
Patients should be reassured that cancer surgery is not routinely being postponed and it is safe for you to come into hospitals for urgent tests, procedures and operations when you are given an appointment. Please attend your appointment, unless you are advised by your care provider not to. If you have symptoms of Covid-19 on the day of your appointment, please discuss this with your clinician.
Unfortunately a small number of cancer operations have had to be postponed due to a large increase of patients being admitted into hospital and exceptional demands placed on the staff. We are working extremely hard to keep any future postponements to a minimum.
We understand that this may be a worrying time for patients, but decisions are taken on a case by case basis and patients needing urgent surgery will be prioritised. All patients are being kept under close review by senior doctors and should make contact with their doctor or nurse if their symptoms worsen.
The public can do their bit to help to reduce the spread of transmission of Covid-19 by observing social distancing and the hands, face, space advice, which will save lives and reduce demand on the NHS.
The Kent Oncology Centre provides oncology services to Kent, Medway and East Sussex. Consultant Oncologists are employed by Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and provide outpatient clinics at both of the Trust’s hospitals. They also provide outpatient clinics at The Conquest, Darent Valley, Kent & Canterbury, Medway Maritime, QEQM and William Harvey Hospitals.
The Kent Oncology Centre provides a full range of chemotherapy and supportive treatments at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospitals and Radiotherapy services in Maidstone and Kent & Canterbury Hospitals.
Brachytherapy is provided at Maidstone Hospital for gynaecological and prostate cancers.
An 18 bedded inpatient haemato-oncology ward provides inpatient treatments for haematological cancers (leukaemia, myeloma, lymphoma).
Tunbridge Wells Hospital
Kent & Canterbury Hospital