COVID-19: Cancer and screening services

Managing haematology and oncology patients during the COVID-19 pandemic

The following guidance is for clinicians managing patients with cancer, phased according to community spread and disruption to normal health systems.

The guidance has been endorsed by the Clinical Assembly of the Cancer Control Agency. It is regularly updated and is a consensus piece of work. The link is to a Google drive with the latest version and clinical feedback.

Screening services during Alert Level 2

Cancer screening programmes are gradually returning to normal, with appropriate safeguards in place to comply with COVID-19 Alert Level 2 protocols and to keep participants and staff safe.

People who missed breast and cervical screening appointments during the suspension of services are being contacted by their provider to make a new appointment.

Bowel screening is restarting in a more phased way. People who received a home test kit and were asked to put it aside until further advice can now complete it and send it back.

DHBs are scheduling colonoscopies, beginning with the most urgent patients and then moving to those who have had a positive screening test.

To enable DHBs to catch up on providing colonoscopies for people already in the system, new invitations will remain on hold, with the first batch expected to go out on 11 June.

Anyone concerned about their bowel symptoms should talk to their GP directly, and not wait for screening to re-start.

Antenatal and newborn screening programmes will continue during the health service response to COVID-19, but with some changes to ensure health staff, women and babies are kept safe.

More information for pregnancy and newborn screening participants

More information about the changes to cancer screening programmes is available on the Time to Screen website.

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