Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Continuing your treatment and keeping you safe

GenesisCare remains committed to ensuring that cancer patients can continue to receive the care they need in our centres. Currently all of our centres and clinics are operating without delay.

We are closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic globally, implementing the latest Government advice, and are adding extra precautionary measures to maintain a safe environment for our patients and teams.

Washing-hands-GenesisCare
Keeping our patients and teams safe

Safety first

Keeping our patients and teams safe

  • Additional cleaning: Providing safe and clean facilities remains a key focus, and we have increased the frequency of cleaning rounds including in high use areas such as waiting rooms, nursing stations and planning rooms.
  • Reinforcing strict hygiene protocols: All employees and guests are asked to practice increased vigilance with hygiene and infection control, with hand sanitizer available throughout our centres, hand washing guides displayed and other reminder notices in centres.
  • Pre-visit screening testing: We are screening patients, companions and visitors for symptoms with a phone assessment and in-centre questionnaire on arrival.
  • Testing: We are testing all patients and staff, symptomatic or not, with nasal and throat swabs on arrival to our centres. You may have a kit sent home if preferred and we’ll arrange a courier to collect it at our cost.
  • Restricting visitors: All other visitors and carers are being asked not to attend our centres, unless required for patient safety.
  • Emergency response plans: GenesisCare has an emergency response plan in place which we will activate if a patient and/or employee comes into contact with the virus.
  • Temperature check on arrival: All visitors, including staff and patients, will have their temperature checked. We use a non-touch infrared forehead thermometer to record your temperature on arrival.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE): All staff in our centres will wear a surgical mask within the centre and will adhere to social distancing where they are not required to be in close contact in order to deliver clinical care. All clinical staff will also wear gloves and an apron whilst they carry out your care.
  • Telehealth: Secure videoconferencing for appointments with your consultant.
Our advice to patients visiting our centres

Our advice

Our advice to patients visiting our centres

  • Call us if you’re unwell: Please contact your centre prior to treatment if you are experiencing symptoms such as fever and/or shortness of breath or cough.
  • Practice excellent hygiene: Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitiser, avoid touching your face, and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue if you have to cough or sneeze.
  • Attend treatment without guests: We ask that any visitors and carers avoid entering our centres during your treatment, unless required for your safety. Our aim is to have your care delivered as promptly as possible, and to the limit the number of people you come into contact with.
  • Avoid visits from anyone who is unwell: Those affected by cancer disease may be more susceptible to infection, so kindly request that any visitors displaying symptoms of illness, such as elevated temperature, coughing, sneezing or headaches, postpone their visit.
Birmingham-centre-outside
A message from our Chief Medical Office

Our message

GenesisCare’s Chief Medical Officer, Penny Kechagioglou confirms that treatment continues as usual within our centres and we are prepared to treat all patients without delay or compromise,

GenesisCare remains committed to ensuring that cancer patients can continue to receive the care they need in our centres. Currently all our centres are operating as usual and we are continuing to treat patients without delay.

Diagnosis and treatment

“In order to ensure patients can quickly access the diagnostic tests and treatment they need, we are continuing to run One Stop clinics for breast and prostate patients in our Maidstone, Milton Keynes, Oxford and Windsor centres. Additional One Stop Breast clinics will be available in Cambridge and Windsor during April and May respectively.  “Additionally, it’s also important for everyone to try to keep their wellbeing front and centre during what can understandably be a stressful time. This could mean remaining active, calling a friend or doing something else you enjoy.

“GenesisCare is here to support our people, our patients and our communities in whatever way we can, so please reach out to your local centre if you have any questions, comments or concerns.”

“GenesisCare delivers care both privately and on behalf of governments in many locations around the world. We acknowledge the demand that this outbreak is having on the broader public health system internationally and will continue to work closely with health departments to provide rapid access to high quality oncology and cardiology care.”

Penny Kechagioglou – Chief Medical Officer, GenesisCare UK

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Are you still open?

Currently all our centres and clinics are open and treating patients. We are carefully assessing each patient’s individual risks to ensure we can provide the best care. We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic globally, implementing the latest Government advice, and adding extra precautionary measures to maintain a safe environment for our patients and staff.

To keep our patients and staff safe we have implemented the following preventative measures:

  • Additional cleaning – providing safe and clean facilities remains a key focus, and we have increased the frequency of cleaning rounds including in high use areas such as toilets, waiting rooms, changing rooms and diagnostic facilities
  • Reinforcing strict hygiene protocols – all employees and guests are asked to practice increased vigilance with hygiene and infection control, with hand sanitizer available throughout our centres, hand washing guides displayed and other reminder notices in centres
  • Pre-visit screening – all patients will be screened for virus symptoms with a phone assessment before their appointment and in-centre questionnaire on arrival
  • Temperature checking – all centre visitors, including staff and patients, will have their temperature checked on arrival. We use a non-touch infrared forehead thermometer to record your temperature
  • Restricting visitors – to help reduce footfall in our centres, companions and carers are encouraged not to attend our centres if possible, unless required for patient safety
  • Waiting areas – we have rearranged our waiting areas to create more space and enable social distancing
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) – all staff in our centres will wear a surgical mask within the centre to reduce the risk of Coronavirus. Our staff will adhere to social distancing if they are not required to be in close contact with you to deliver your clinical care. All clinical staff will also wear gloves and an apron while they carry out your care
  • Telehealth – secure videoconferencing for appointments with your consultant
  • Testing – we will be testing our staff and clinicians to detect early and active COVID-19 infections and ensure we can continue to provide the services and treatments our patients need keep our centres safe
  • Emergency response plans – GenesisCare has an emergency response plan in place if a patient and/or employee comes into contact with the virus

 

I’m currently shielding (as a vulnerable person) following government guidelines, can I still access care?

Yes, even if you’re shielding, please keep attending your treatment appointments. Our team will let you know if you need to attend any ongoing appointments via our Telehealth service (videoconferencing). If you have any concerns about self-isolating please call your centre.

Can I bring a friend or family member to my appointment still?

To protect our patients, visitors and staff, all visitors and carers are being asked not to attend our centres, unless required for patient safety.

I have some cold-like symptoms, what should I do?

Please contact your centre prior to your appointment if you are experiencing symptoms such as fever or a cough. Visit the NHS 111 website for information on seeking medical attention for symptoms of Coronavirus, and ensure you communicate your current diagnosis and treatments to the clinicians or 111 staff that you speak to.

As someone undergoing cancer treatment, am I more at risk of contracting Coronavirus?

Some people with cancer are more at risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract the COVID-19 infection (commonly known as the Coronavirus)1, including:

  • People having chemotherapy, or who have received chemotherapy in the last 3 months
  • People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors
  • People having intensive (radical) radiotherapy for lung cancer
  • People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  • People with some types of blood cancer which damage the immune system, even if they have not needed treatment (for example, chronic leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)

If you are in this category, you should have received a letter by NHS England before Sunday 29 March 2020 or have been contacted by your GP to be advised about how to protect yourself from coronavirus.

If you believe you fall into this category and have not been contacted, please discuss any concerns with your GP or GenesisCare consultant.

If you don’t fall into any of these groups, then current NHS guidance states that you aren’t considered to be extremely vulnerable and don’t need to “shield” yourself from coronavirus (see below for an explanation of shielding).  However, you are still vulnerable and so should follow official social distancing guidance2:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Do not meet others, even friends or family – you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

What is shielding?

Shielding is a protocol used to protect particularly vulnerable people from coming into contact with coronavirus1. The measures should be followed for 12 weeks from the day that you received a letter from or were contacted by your GP advising you to shield – this should have been before the 29th March. The shielding measures are:

  • Strictly avoid contact with anyone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  • Don’t leave your house
  • Don’t attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, for example, family homes, weddings and religious services
  • Don’t go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact
  • Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media

How will the coronavirus outbreak affect my ongoing treatment at GenesisCare?

During the COVID-19 outbreak, we are making every effort to ensure that the wellbeing of our patients remains a priority. Currently all our centres and clinics are continuing to run tests, such as scans and blood tests, as well as treating patients with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. We have robust measures in place to ensure your safety when undergoing tests or treatments at our centres. These include:

  • Pre-appointment and in-centre screening
  • Limiting visitors
  • Temperature checks on entry to our centres
  • No waiting in common areas
  • Timed appointments to minimise exposure between patients
  • All our staff wear protective masks and gloves

Public Health England have advised that all medical services should be accessed remotely wherever possible1. To support this, we have launched our secure video conferencing platform so that our consultants can run clinics and conduct appointments remotely. You can also ask your consultant for a telephone consultation.

Does radiotherapy affect the immune system?

Targeted radiotherapy treatment delivered in fewer sessions or otherwise call stereotactic radiotherapy, doesn’t generally make a major impact on the immune system. Some prolonged radiotherapy treatments over many weeks, may affect the number of white cells in your blood which help you fight infections.

Your consultant will advise you on the radiotherapy treatment plan most suitable for you, balancing the benefits and risks of treatment.

Am I at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if I contract coronavirus, because of my radiotherapy treatment?

Short targeted radiotherapy treatments that last for few days don’t have an adverse effect on your immune system. This means that your body is likely to fight the virus as well as people not undergoing radiotherapy.

Prolonged radiotherapy treatments that last over a number of weeks and treat large areas in your body, may lower your body’s immune defence and clearing the virus may take longer or you may develop worse symptoms.

Your consultant will advise you on the radiotherapy treatment plan most suitable for you, balancing the benefits and risks of treatment.

Am I in a vulnerable group?

Some people with cancer are more at risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract the COVID-19 infection (commonly known as the coronavirus)1, including:

  • People having chemotherapy, or who have received chemotherapy in the last 3 months
  • People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors
  • People having intensive (radical) radiotherapy for lung cancer
  • People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  • People with some types of blood cancer which damage the immune system, even if they have not needed treatment (for example, chronic leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)

People also falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

  • Solid organ transplant recipients
  • People with severe chest conditions
  • People with rare diseases/metabolic conditions that increase the risk of infection
  • People on immunosuppression therapies
  • Pregnant women with significant heart disease

Am I in a vulnerable group if i have blood cancer?

If you have a cancer of the blood or bone marrow – such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma – you’re considered particularly vulnerable, whatever stage of treatment you’re in. Public Health England have advised that you should follow shielding measures to protect yourself from infection.

Am I in a vulnerable group if I have lung cancer?

If you have lung cancer and you’re undergoing chemotherapy or prolonged radiotherapy treatments that last over a number of weeks and treat large areas in your body, you’re considered to be particularly vulnerable, as per Public Health England guidance. These treatments may lower your body’s immune defence and clearing the virus may take longer or you may develop worse symptoms. It has been advised that you should follow shielding measures to protect yourself.

Current NHS guidance states that all other lung cancer patients aren’t considered to be more vulnerable because of their condition and don’t need to shield. Instead, you should follow social distancing guidance2:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Do not meet others, even friends or family – you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

Am I in a vulnerable group if I am undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer?

If you’re a lung cancer patient and receiving radical chemotherapy, you’re considered to be particularly vulnerable – it has been advised that you should follow shielding measures.  If you’d like further information about your treatment, or want to discuss your own personal risk, please contact your consultant.

Am I in a vulnerable group if I am undergoing immunotherapy?

If you’re currently undergoing continuous antibody treatment, then you’re particularly vulnerable to coronavirus. Public Health England has advised that you should follow shielding measures to protect yourself. If you’d like further information about your treatment, or want to discuss your own personal risk, please contact your consultant.

Am I in a vulnerable group if I am undergoing PARP inhibitor or protein kinase inhibitor treatment?

If you’re currently receiving targeted cancer treatments which can affect your immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors, Public Health England has advised you’re in the particularly vulnerable group and should follow shielding measures to protect yourself. If you’d like further information about your treatment, or want to discuss your own personal risk, please contact your consultant.

Sources

  1. COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable. GOV.UK. Published 2020. Accessed April 13, 2020.
  2. Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do. GOV.UK. Published 2020. Accessed April 13, 2020.
Generall Coronavirus FAQs

Generall Coronavirus FAQs

What is Coronavirus?

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. Symptoms range from a mild cough to pneumonia. Some people recover easily, others may get very sick very quickly. There is evidence that it spreads from person to person. Good hygiene can prevent infection.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. People with Coronavirus may experience:

  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, indigestion, taste loss, loss of smell and headaches.

Who is most at risk of contracting Coronavirus?

People of all ages can be infected by Coronavirus, however, older people and people with pre-existing health problems (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) seem to be more susceptible to becoming severely ill with the virus.

How does Coronavirus impact people with pre-existing health conditions such as cancer and heart disease?

While more than 80%of confirmed COVID-19 cases are considered not severe, the virus has proven to be dangerous, and at times fatal, in immunocompromised individuals, including the sick and elderly.

People with pre-existing health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer or respiratory illnesses such as asthma and COPD, are at higher risk of developing more severe symptoms from Covid-19.

For cancer patients, treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy can weaken their immune system, leaving them more vulnerable to infections like Covid-19.

Similarly, patients with asthma or COPD are often treated with high-dose steroid medication which can also dampen the immune system and put them at increased risk of infection.

How does Coronavirus spread?

There is evidence that the virus spreads from person-to-person. The virus is most likely spread through:

  • Close contact with an infectious person
  • Contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
  • Touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze Droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face.

What can I do to protect myself?

Everyone should practice good hygiene to protect against infections. Good hygiene includes:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitiser
  • Using a tissue and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoiding close contact with others, such as touching
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

In addition to the tips above, everyone should follow social distancing:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Do not meet others, even friends or family except people that you live with- you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms