Coronavirus: head and neck cancer update
Due to increased demand on the hospital due to the COVID-19 pandemic we are having to make significant changes to our services which may require cancellation or postponement of appointments and operations, including cancer treatment.
Much of our cancer surgery is being carried out at HCA (private hospital) in the Cancer Centre at Guy’s to minimise the risk of our patients getting COVID-19 infection while under our care. We are using HCA facilities but the surgery will be carried out by our Guy’s and St Thomas’ head and neck consultants.
We are attempting to contact all patients with a future scheduled appointment. In most cases we are changing appointments to a telephone consultation, and in certain circumstances, a video appointment. Some appointments may be cancelled without a future date being arranged at this stage. If we cancel your appointment you will remain on our waiting list and we will contact you in due course. Some patients may be discharged back to their GP or local services, and we will write to you if this is the case.
Please do not worry if you have not had confirmation of your rescheduled appointment yet. This is likely to vary depending on the length of the coronavirus lockdown. We will contact you nearer to the time of your appointment to confirm the date and time. If you feel that there has been a deterioration in your symptoms or health that might be related to your cancer, please contact us and we will advise whether further investigations are required at this time.
The team are keen to reduce the number of patients who need to attend the hospital. We are checking all new referrals to make the most appropriate plan for each patient. It is very likely that your first consultation will be by telephone. A senior member of the clinical team will contact you. Your symptoms will be assessed and categorised using a tool by the British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists (BAHNO) and we will inform you of the best way forward to help with your symptoms.
If you have been seen by your GP and referred to the head and neck service for a new appointment and have a query, please call 020 7188 0902.
If you have a question about an appointment for clinic or surgery, please contact email our admin team at HeadNeckAppointmentRequests@gstt.nhs.uk or call 020 7188 7188 extension 88872.
Our phone lines are very busy and there may be a delay in answering and responding. Please email first where possible.
If you are an existing patient who has previously been seen in our service and need advice from the clinical team, please contact us via switchboard 020 7188 7188 and ask for the on call ENT/head and neck team.
If you have an upcoming operation with us, you and members of your household must not leave your home for two weeks prior to surgery. Groceries should be delivered to your door by delivery services or by family and friends who do not live with you. Please let us know if you think this will be a problem.
We need to be sure you are not developing viral infection at the time of your operation for your own and our staff's safety.
Please make sure you have adequate social support at home to manage once discharged from hospital after surgery. If you think this will be a problem, please let us know.
If you or anyone in your household develops symptoms of COVID-19 infection prior to surgery, please let us know at once.
If you are on any anticoagulants or blood thinning medication, please let us know well in advance of your surgery, as we may need to pause this treatment.
We are doing everything we can to support GPs and your patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you need advice from our clinical team, please use the current advice and guidance channels including e-RS advice and guidance.
We are vetting all head and neck two week wait (2WW) referrals made by GPs on e-RS.
We will see referrals where there is a higher index of suspicion of cancer and write to or phone referrals with a lower index of suspicion of cancer.
Please consider this before making any referral as our capacity to see new patients is very limited.
Urgent advice or referrals
For urgent clinical advice or referrals from other medical teams and hospitals, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About head and neck cancer
Head and neck cancer affects any of the organs or tissues of the head and neck, including the mouth, throat, nasal cavities, eyes or ears.
Our head and neck cancer centre is one of the largest in the UK. It is the regional specialist centre for head and neck cancer, and identified as excellent by the NICE peer review team.