More cancer patients in Sheffield now seeking treatment after worrying drop
After a disturbing drop in the number of people seeking cancer care treatment due to the Covid-19 outbreak, figures are finally on the up.
The amount sent for urgent investigations at Sheffield hospitals had more than halved as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Macmillan Cancer Support said the virus ‘wreaked havoc’ on cancer care nationally, with service disruption leading to a huge backlog of patients requiring vital treatment.
NHS England data shows 790 people were seen by a specialist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust following an urgent GP referral in April, down 55 per cent from the 1,737 patients seen in t he same month last year.
Dr David Hughes. trust medical director, s aid: “We understand how difficult the situation has been for patients who may have confirmed or suspected cancer, which is why we have tried our very best to continue to provide as much cancer care as possible within the national guidance and where it was safe to do so.
“We have not stopped providing urgent cancer care and we quickly introduced video consultations where it was appropriate to do so for patients who needed first appointments for suspected cancers.
“Regrettably we have had to postpone some treatments after carefully discussing with each patient the risk to them from their cancer, compared with the sometimes considerable risks of having Covid- 19 while receiving cancer treatments.
“In the first few weeks of the outbreak we saw a drop in the number of patients we would normally care for because some people did not want to come into hospital or were not allowed to because of shielding.
“However, now the number of referrals are back up to almost 80 per cent of pre COVID-19 levels which is good news.
“All our patients can be assured we are working tirelessly to provide patients with the cancer care that they need in as safe and timely way as possible.
“We encourage anyone worried about symptoms which could be associated with cancer, not to wait, but instead to contact their GP who can make a referral to us for an appointment and investigations.”