St Mary's Hospital Isle of Wight Day Sunny

HEALTH BOSSES CONCERNS ABOUT PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON CANCER SERVICES

Healthcare bosses on the Isle of Wight are worried about the effect Covid-19 has had on cancer performance at the Island’s only hospital.

During the pandemic, cancer services continued to run but in an update given to the Isle of Wight NHS Trust’s board, it was said ‘a considerable number’ of people had either deferred or declined appointments and treatment at mainland hospitals.

Chief operating officer of the trust, Joe Smyth, said he was particularly concerned about the risks caused by waiting times that had built up.

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He said:

“We have been able to get most of the people to their appointments but I have concerns some people will have inadvertently and have been caused harm by delaying their own treatment.”

Plans have been put in place to ensure people are not missing out, improve the services and recover from the Covid pandemic with help from other health bodies, such as Wessex Cancer Alliance and Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust.

An offer for patients to have their cancer surgery in Portsmouth, however, was turned down by a third of patients after discussing it with their surgeon, preferring to have their treatments on the Island instead.

It is something that has been seen in other areas of medicine on the Island, with 65% of patients that were offered it, turning down the private operations on the mainland.

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People not accessing their care was also an issue raised by the trust’s quality and performance committee, which said patient choice seemed to be a ‘significant barrier’ to achieving pathway times and access to care

The breast screening programme at St Mary’s Hospital, Newport, has fully recovered — meaning there is no backlog of people waiting for their routine 3-yearly checks.

Another area where the trust is above its target is in the 31-day wait from diagnosis to patient’s first treatment — 97 % of patients in February were seen within the timeframe, with 100% in January.

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