Cancer treatment cutbacks could cause 60,000 premature deaths during crisis

Leading oncologist Professor Karol Sikora claimed a surge in deaths from cancer will be “the next big crisis” the NHS will have to face.

It comes as vital cancer care has been put on hold across the country – with a postcode lottery developing whether a patient’s chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery is delayed or even cancelled by their NHS trust.

And some cancer patients are being told chemotherapy is no longer an option because it would weaken their immune system, making them more susceptible to falling seriously ill if they contract Covid-19.

“Tens of thousands of people could have their lives cut short because of a reduction in cancer services. We have to get ahead of this – it’s the next big crisis.”

And he urged the Government to move all Covid-19 patients in London into the new 4,000 bed NHS Nightingale hospital – to allow the capital’s hospitals to return to focusing on cancer care.

Prof Sikora, chief medical officer at Rutherford Health and former head of the World Health Organisation’s cancer programme, wrote on Twitter last night: “Coronavirus is an awful disease, but we can’t forget that cancer has taken more loved ones than this virus ever will.

He told i News: “Let’s say the lockdown went on for six months and hospitals couldn’t complete cancer surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, we’ve come to the conclusion that up to 60,000 people in the UK will die if they have to wait that long for treatment.

Source for full article –

Nightingale Field Hospitals

The seven Nightingale Hospitals around the country should be used solely for Covid-19 patients, or they are in danger of becoming “White Elephants” , according to some recent reports.

The 4,000-bed Nightingale hospital in London has only treated a total of 40 patients, and it has turned away 30 ‘life or death’ coronavirus patients from other packed London wards because it lacks  sufficient trained nurses. With thousands of beds empty, there is increasing concern among London hospital managers that the Nightingale is becoming a ‘white elephant’ and taking away vital resources from other neighbouring sites. Source –

Using these field hospitals  to focus  solely on Covid-19 patients  would allow District General Hospitals to deal with cancer surgery, cardiac disease (including surgery) and other urgent treatments., rather than being almost totally devoted to Covid-19 patients.

This includes the 2,000-bed Dragon’s Heart field Hospital in Cardiff, built in the Principality stadium. The hospital will soon be welcoming its first patients following the official opening.

The current plan is that these will be patients who are coming to the end of their treatment of the virus and require rehabilitation and support as part of their recovery, and also patients who need end of life palliative care.

Facilities at the hospital will include mobile x-ray, CT scanners, a pharmacy and an end-of-life pathway of care for people in the last weeks or days of their lives. In the adjacent Cardiff Blues Stadium will be a rest area for staff and a reception area for relatives.

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