Our services during Covid-19

To help keep our patients and staff safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve made some changes to our services.

This helps us to focus our resources in the right way to manage both our Covid-19 and non Covid19 patients.

Our changes are in line with national guidance; we are constantly reviewing the situation and will continue to keep you updated. Thank you for your understanding at this time.  

Outpatient appointments and planned surgery

To keep our patients safe, we are continuing to postpone most routine face to face appointments until the end of June, when we will review this again. This is to help us develop the necessary plans we need to have in place for starting our face to face appointments again, ensuring that when we do, we are following the national infection prevention and control guidelines.

This does not include cancer and urgent appointments.

Wherever possible, we are continuing to hold telephone clinics so that our patients do not need to come into our hospitals. During April we held more than 5,800 appointments on the telephone, and so far in May, we have held more than 7,700.

We are currently scheduling in clinics for June and will contact people by phone or by letter to update them on their appointment.

Please note we have continued to postpone all routine, planned surgery (including day cases) and are only carrying out the most urgent operations.

Cancer services

We have made significant changes to our cancer services in a short space of time, to help protect our most vulnerable patients and ensure they receive the care they need.

We will continue to review our services and adapt them as necessary, and will provide the best possible treatment for each patient based on their clinical need and in line with national guidance.

Chemotherapy and surgery

Chemotherapy can temporarily weaken the immune system, which means that cancer patients are more susceptible to contracting Covid-19.

So we have worked closely with the independent sector to secure space to treat our chemotherapy patients at Spire Hartswood in Brentwood, where the environment will have a much reduced risk for our patients of catching Covid-19.

A small number of patients will continue to have their chemotherapy at Queen’s Hospital, for example, if their treatment needs to happen alongside timed radiotherapy, and we will continue to treat our most critical leukaemia patients at Queen’s Hospital. We have made improvements to our Sunflower Suite to safeguard them further from risks of infection.

We are still accepting new referrals from GPs and have put appropriate diagnostics in place that are in line with national guidance being implemented across the NHS. This means procedures such as endoscopy and biopsies will remain suspended for now, but we will continue to use X-ray, MRIs and CT scans.

We are also working very closely with partner NHS organisations and the independent sector to review the best approach for delivering surgical treatments for our patients.

While non-urgent surgeries are still postponed, we are working together to carry out essential surgeries based on clinical need. This will be in line with national and local guidance and may not be done in our own hospitals.

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy treatments are continuing as normal for the majority of our patients.

For some patients their treatment start date has been postponed, in agreement with their consultant that it can be done safely with no adverse impact on the outcome of their treatment.

Read more about how we’ve supported our cancer patients in our latest news story.

Paediatric Emergency Services

Our Emergency Departments (A&E) at both King George and Queen’s hospitals remain open, however we have made some changes to the way we currently care for our children and young people

Children and young people arriving at Queen’s will be assessed and any necessary treatment will take place there.

Children and young people who arrive at our Emergency Department at King George Hospital will be assessed when they arrive.

If they need further care and are well enough to be transported by their family members/carers, they will be asked to make their way to Queen’s Hospital; patient transport will be arranged where required.

Our more unwell patients will be seen by a team at King George initially and, if needing admission to hospital, be taken by ambulance to Queen’s Hospital.

Blood testing

Our blood test departments at both King George and Queen's hospitals are closed until further notice.

However we will continue to see our Maternity and Oncology patients. If you are one of these patients, you will already have been informed how to have your blood test.

All other patients should contact their referrer for advice.

You can find out more in our blood testing section, including where you can get a test.