The impact of the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic on colorectal cancer services in England and Wales: a national survey
AuthorsBoyle, J. M.
Blake, H. A.
van der Meulen, J.
Braun, Michael S
AffiliationLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractAim: We studied how National Health Service hospitals in England and Wales aimed to maintain effective and safe colorectal cancer (CRC) services during the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic period (April 2020). Methods: A national survey was performed among all 148 hospitals providing CRC services. Information was collected about changes in referrals, diagnostic, staging and therapeutic procedures, as well as whether there was access to a 'cold site' (hospital facility free of COVID-19). Clinicians in each hospital were also asked to give the 'single most important lesson learned' about keeping services safe and effective. Results: Full responses were received from 123 (83%) hospitals and information about 'cold sites' was available for 146 (99%). 80 hospitals (54%) had access to a 'cold site' and this was increased in regions with higher COVID-19 infection rates (p=<0.001). Of the 123 responding hospitals, 105 (85%) indicated referrals of patients with suspected CRC had dropped by at least 30%, and 69 (56%) indicated that treatment plans were altered in at least 50% of CRC patients. However, 'cold site' availability protected capacity for diagnostic colonoscopy (p=0.013) and CRC resection (p=0.010). Many 'lessons learned' highlighted the importance of adequate structural service organisation, often mentioning 'cold sites' and regional coordination as examples, good communication, and triage of patients based on clinical urgency. Conclusion: Access to 'cold sites', as well as regional coordination, clear communication, and strong leadership, were found to be pivotal in maintaining diagnostic and treatment CRC capacity during COVID-19 surge.
CitationBoyle JM, Kuryba A, Blake HA, Aggarwal A, van der Meulen J, Walker K, et al. The impact of the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic on colorectal cancer services in England and Wales: a national survey. Colorectal Dis. 2021.
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