Health boss confirms local cancer services will be maintained if 2nd wave of pandemic hits

Plans are in place to ensure services for people with cancer and other illnesses will be maintained in case of a second wave of Covid-19, a health boss has said.

At a meeting of South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire joint health overview and scrutiny committee, a member of the public submitted a question to ask what arrangements have been made to address the likelihood of a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Prof. Des Breen the medical director for the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw integrated care system said that a number of services did remain in place throughout the pandemic, and protocols put in place which are now being stepped down can be brought back in place in case of a second wave.

Prof Breen told the virtual meeting: “There’s a lot of emergency planning going on at the start of the pandemic with the protocols and procedures in place, and we’re very pleased to say that actually, as described in the two reports those services actually remained intact throughout the pandemic. We learned a lot of lessons which we’re continuously updating.

“As we are coming out of this first wave, some of those protocols are being stepped down, they are already in place should we have a second wave, be it a small one or a large one, we can very quickly put those back in place to maintain services.”

Chair of the meeting councillor Mick Rooney, Labour councillor for the Woodhouse Ward in Sheffield, asked if patients with serious illnesses such as cancer would be able to access services in case of a second wave.

Prof Breen responded by telling the meeting that services for patients with serious illnesses such as cancer were held off, on the instruction of NHS England at the start of the pandemic.

He added: “Right at the start of the pandemic, we were instructed by NHS England to actually hold off services to prepare for a worst case scenario. Similarly, at the same time, the public voted with their feet and didn’t actually come into hospital for cancer treatments and for other sorts of urgent care like heart attacks, because of the fear.

“We certainly have got national plans, certainly to try and maintain those services by using other sorts of ways of dealing with them, and if a second wave does happen, we’re hopefully going to maintain those services.

“When we first saw the pattern of people not presenting we had lots and lots of public campaigning to try and express to the public that the NHS is still open for business, and if they’re worried about particular things like cancer then they must come forward in the normal way. ”

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