July 8, 2020 1.45 pm This story is over 47 months old

First urgent cancer surgeries in Lincolnshire after COVID-19 delays

Doctors from across the county performed 50 surgeries in 7 days

The first Lincolnshire cancer patients who had their surgery postponed due to coronavirus have now had their operations at the largely COVID-free site at Grantham Hospital.

We reported last month that around 200 people in Lincolnshire who needed cancer treatment still didn’t know when they would be able to be seen due to the coronavirus lockdown.

However, the first patients have now had their operations at Grantham and District Hospital.

Theatres at the hospital have been used by a team of surgeons from across the trust over the last week to operate on 50 cancer and medically urgent patients in seven days.

By creating a new temporary 24/7 Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC), ULHT is now able to carry out thousands more chemotherapy sessions, cancer surgeries and other elective surgeries for patients from across Lincolnshire.

In addition, all planned patients coming onto the site are being tested for COVID-19 and only admitted following a negative result.

Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) is the UTC’s provider.

Over 360 patients used Grantham’s new temporary 24/7 Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) during its first full week of operation last month.

However, a Lincoln-based cancer doctor said last month that she was concerned by the drop in people visiting their GP with cancer symptoms.

There were also more than 12,000 people who have been waiting for more than 18 weeks to be seen by specialist doctors after referrals from GPs, as planned elective and urgent diagnosis appointments have reduced during lockdown.

Dr Neill Hepburn, Medical Director at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We continue to manage a global pandemic situation, but are working to find ways to offer a wider range of services to our patients where we can safely do so.

“It has taken a huge effort by colleagues from across the county to transform how we provide these services to our patients from across Lincolnshire. I am pleased that we are now providing surgery to our patients with cancer or those whose surgery is urgent in nature.”

The so-called temporary changes are part of ULHT’s response to the level 4 national emergency. It will be reviewed when the current phase of the response nationally comes to an end.

Based on current available information, ULHT said it will run to the end of March 2021, but could be subject to change and it will be reviewed quarterly throughout.