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27th Mar 2020

Important news about consultations

In line with the public health emergency guidelines to tackle coronavirus, I am moving as much of my work as possible to online or telephone consultations.

I am sure you will understand the reasons for this, to help safeguard health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

The decision is not one that health authorities have taken lightly and like all medical professionals I am aware of the concern that this may cause patients who are already under significant stress undergoing treatment.

However all clinics are subject to the current Government restrictions. As a result all my clinics at The Royal Marsden Hospitaland in Harley Streethave been closed for routine follow-up visits.

I am maintaining my consultations and appointments by pre-arranged phone calls or online video conferencing.

While I recognise that this may not be the same as a face-to-face meeting, I hope it will give you some reassurance.

Furthermore, if any significant concerns arise during these consultations, then face-to-face consultations will be considered depending on the latest national guidance.

In terms of treatments, many of these are continuing as normal however nasendoscopy procedures are being restricted due to risks of spreading the virus and blood tests for thyroid cancer patients are being delayed unless there is an immediate urgency.

If you have an appointment coming up or would like to arrange an urgent consultation, please contact:

For The Royal Marsden Hospital, email Rachel at: MedsecChelsea.Nutting@rmh.nhs.uk

For the Harley Street Clinic, contact Stacey Holloway stacey.holloway@hcahealthcare.co.uk

For further information in relation to coronavirus if you are a patient, please visit:

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/coronavirus-and-cancer

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/coronavirus

Shielding

The advice to patients with cancer who are at home is to adopt so-called shielding measures.

Cancer Research UK summarise these as follow:

Shielding means that you stay home and avoid face-to-face contact for at least 12 weeks. You can continue to have visits from anyone who helps you with essential support. For example, healthcare staff or carers.

All visitors should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when they arrive at your home and often during the visit. Shielding means you should:

  • avoid anyone who has possible coronavirus symptoms
  • stay at home
  • avoid family gatherings, even in private spaces
  • ask family or friends to arrange shopping for you and leave it at your door

You may receive a letter about shielding if you belong to a vulnerable group. If you think you belong to one of these groups and you have not had a letter, talk to your GP or cancer specialist. The 12 week time period may change if the guidance changes.

I live with other people, what should we do?

Anyone who lives with you should reduce their contact outside their home where possible. But they do not have to practice the same shielding measures. They should practice social distancing (see below).

Look at the Public Health England guidance for detailed information on how to do shielding.

  • Spend as little time as possible with other people that you live with in shared spaces, such as the kitchen or living room. Keep these areas well ventilated.
  • Try to keep 2 meters (3 steps) away from people you live with. Sleep in a different bed where possible.
  • Use separate towels to other people in your house.
  • Use a separate bathroom if possible. If you need to share a toilet and bathroom, this should be cleaned after you use them.
  • Everyone should wash their hands regularly, avoid touching their face and clean frequently touched surfaces.

Depending on your situation, it could be very difficult to stay separate from others at home. Do what you can. It is important that you feel you can support each other through this.

The decision to protect yourself from coronavirus with shielding measures is your personal choice and circumstances. For example, there are some people who because of their cancer may have a limited time to live. And so they may decide not to fully follow the shielding measures.

For more information about Prof Nutting's work please visit the CV page, get in touch or arrange a consultation.