1 Communicating with patients and minimising risk

All patients

1.1 Communicate with patients and support their mental wellbeing, signposting to charities and support groups where available, to help alleviate any anxiety and fear they may have about COVID‑19.

1.2 Minimise face-to-face contact by:

  • offering telephone or video consultations (particularly for follow-up appointments and pre-treatment consultations)

  • cutting non-essential face-to-face follow-up

  • using home delivery services for medicines if capacity allows

  • introducing drive-through pick-up points for medicines

  • using local services for blood tests if possible.

1.3 Advise all patients to contact their local cancer chemotherapy helpline (rather than NHS 111) if they feel unwell to ensure their symptoms are appropriately assessed.

1.4 Tell patients who still need to attend services to follow relevant parts of government advice on social distancing (this may differ across the UK), or UK government guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19. [amended 26 May 2020]

1.5 Discuss with patients the individual factors that may affect their risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19, including underlying conditions, older age, male sex, ethnicity, cancer symptoms and vaccination status.

See the UK Chemotherapy Board's clinician frequently asked questions and guidance on COVID-19 vaccine for patients receiving systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT). [12 February 2021]

Patients without COVID‑19

1.6 Ask patients to attend appointments without family members or carers, if they can, to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading SARS-CoV-2.

1.7 Minimise time in the waiting area by:

  • careful scheduling

  • encouraging patients not to arrive early

  • texting patients when you are ready to see them, so that they can wait in their car, for example.

Patients with known or suspected COVID‑19

1.8 When patients with known or suspected COVID‑19 have been identified, follow appropriate UK government guidance on infection prevention and control. This includes recommendations on patient transfers, transport and options for outpatient settings.

1.9 All healthcare workers involved in receiving, assessing and caring for patients with known or suspected COVID‑19 should follow UK government guidance on infection prevention and control. This contains information on using personal protective equipment (PPE), including visual and quick guides for putting on and taking off PPE.