Coronavirus: Chemo and outpatient appointments halted

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image captionHospitals chiefs are postponing all routine planned surgery

A London hospital has said it will be postponing chemotherapy and other outpatient appointments for at least two weeks.

The Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust said it was postponing all routine planned surgery, including cancer operations.

"Hot clinics are being set up for patients who urgently need to see a doctor", the trust said.

The hospital says chemotherapy drugs can affect patients' immune systems.

A hospital spokesman said: "These measures will help us to protect our patients, including those with Covid-19, and those with other conditions.

"They will also enable us to help be as prepared as possible by training additional clinical teams who are not specialists in respiratory illness."

He said only the most urgent operations would be carried out for the next fortnight. Maternity appointments will still go ahead as scheduled.

"Postponing chemotherapy will help to protect our cancer patients as these intense drugs affect their immune system, making them more susceptible to contracting Covid-19."

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