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Sat Jan 2, 2021, 04:11 PM

Cancer operations face cancellation across London as Covid patients fill hospitals

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/02/cancer-operations-face-cancellation-across-london-as-covid-patients-fill-hospitals

Cancer operations face cancellation across London as Covid patients fill hospitals

Denis Campbell Health policy editor

Sat 2 Jan 2021 19.00 GMT Last modified on Sat 2 Jan 2021 19.35 GMT

NHS bosses are set to cancel urgent surgery across London in a move that could mean cancer patients waiting months for potentially lifesaving operations, the Observer can reveal. NHS England chiefs are considering the drastic action because hospitals across the capital are becoming overwhelmed by people who are very sick with Covid-19.

The operations likely to be cancelled, known as “priority two” procedures, mainly involve surgery for cancer where specialists have judged that the patients need to be operated on within four weeks. Any delay could allow their tumour to grow, the disease to spread or both, thus reducing their chances of survival.

Health service executives and cancer experts fear patients’ cancers may worsen, or even become inoperable, if surgery is postponed for an unknown length of time.
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The situation has arisen because London hospitals are running out of intensive care beds and thus cannot perform types of cancer surgery that would require an ICU bed for the patient to recover in.
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