Cancer and Heart Diseases: Coronavirus

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 7th May 2020.

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Photo of Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Defence)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure cancer and heart disease patients are able to access hospital treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo of Lord Bethell Lord Bethell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The National Health Service has continued to provide urgent and emergency services throughout the outbreak and has run the ‘Open for Business’ media campaign to encourage people with potentially serious health issues to continue to seek medical advice, particularly those with symptoms of cancer, heart attack and stroke.

NHS trusts and Cancer Alliances are working to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer so that they can deliver cancer surgery and treatment at cancer hubs, which have been set up to treat patients in non-COVID-19 environments. Full use is also being made of independent sector hospital and diagnostic capacity.

Referrals for cancer treatment from general practitioners (GPs) to hospital continue to go ahead and the NHS is working hard to increase these to pre-COVID-19 levels.

To ensure patients with heart disease are given the care they need, hospitals are prioritising capacity for cardiac surgery, cardiology services and neuroradiology. Secondary care is prioritised for patients with heart failure, valve disease and arrhythmia services.

Further cardiac and stroke services continue to operate throughout the COVID-19 response and GPs continue to refer into these services.

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