Coronavirus: Isle of Man cancer screening and treatment affected by pandemic

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Nobles Hospital
Image caption,
Patients attending oncology appointments at Noble's Hospital have been told to contact the ward before entering

The treatment of some cancer patients on the Isle of Man could be stopped because of the coronavirus outbreak, Health Minister David Ashford said.

He also announced the suspension of the island's cancer screening services.

Doctors will carry out a case-by-case review of those being treated, Mr Ashford added, stressing that surgery for some patients would be brought forward based on urgency.

Patients with UK appointments should check with their relevant hospital.

Mr Ashford said the decisions were "not easy" and the health department would "support patients in whatever way" it could.

Patients receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy will have their treatment shortened or stopped, in line with new NHS England guidance.

The suspension of screening at UK centres has "had a direct knock-on effect", and the island's screening has now also been stopped.

Mr Ashford said: "Each patient's treatment is unique and decisions will be made on an individual basis by expert oncologists following national guidance.

"We have to take into account whether current treatment plans can continue in light of increased risk of infection, pressures being put on the system by the pandemic, and the need for social distancing generally."

Patients receiving treatment in the UK would be risk assessed as the department works out "what treatments we can deliver on island and what we need to do to help them", he added.

Those who are required to attend scheduled oncology appointments at Noble's Hospital have been asked to telephone the ward from their car before entering the hospital.

All elective surgery on the island has already been cancelled and the treatment of minor injuries relocated to Ramsey Cottage Hospital.

All but emergency Manx NHS dentistry has been scrapped, as have sight tests, and people have been told not to attended GP surgeries unless asked to do so by a doctor.

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