Coronavirus (COVID-19) – FAQs for patients and visitors

Cancer and coronavirus

Does having cancer affect my risk of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Having cancer may mean your immune system is less able to fight infections than other people’s immune systems. You can help to reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill from coronavirus by following the national guidance, including staying at home and washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Some people with cancer are at high risk from coronavirus and should take extra precautions.

Who is at high risk from coronavirus (COVID-19)?

People having certain types of cancer treatment and people who have specific cancers are at greater risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus. The links below provide more information from the NHS and Public Health England about who is at risk and the extra steps you can take to avoid catching it:

I share a house with a family member who is at high risk from coronavirus because of their cancer. Will I put them at greater risk if I go to work?
If you live with someone in a high-risk category, it is important that you do what you can to support them by stringently following the guidance on social distancing and guidance for people at high risk:

I am at high risk from coronavirus but a family member in my household has developed symptoms. What should I do?
Everyone living in a household where someone has symptoms of coronavirus must follow the national guidance on staying at home to reduce the risk of the infection spreading. This guidance is available in several languages, as well as an easy-read format:

What information and advice is available in easy-read, BSL, large-print & other languages?
The Government has published information about coronavirus in a wide range of formats, including:

Patient appointments and coronavirus

Should I attend my appointment at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre during the coronavirus outbreak?
We are working to ensure the safety of our patients whilst continuing to provide clinical services during the coronavirus outbreak. We will contact patients directly if this means they should no longer attend their appointment. Patients who have not been contacted should attend as planned unless they are unwell, but please contact the relevant clinic/department if you have questions or concerns.

I am currently receiving cancer treatment. Should I still come in for my blood test?
Yes – unless you are unwell, you should come for your blood tests as planned. Your clinical team will inform you if this changes in any way.

Should I still come in for my planned scans?
Yes – unless you are unwell, you should come for your scans as planned. Your clinical team will inform you if this changes in any way.

Is it safe for me to attend hospital for my treatment if I have to travel by public transport?
Patient transport can be arranged. Details of the relevant Transport Department will be supplied on the bottom of your appointment letter so please contact them to arrange this. If you do not have an appointment letter, please contact your consultant’s secretary and they will be able to provide you with the details.

I have a follow-up appointment in Outpatients. Should I still come in for this?
We are now conducting the majority of outpatient appointments by telephone to minimise the risk to patients and staff and reduce footfall within our sites. Most appointments now take place by phone or video. Some patients will still come for a face-to-face appointment.

Can I bring someone with me to my appointment?
To reduce the risk to patients, no visitors are currently allowed into the building. You are welcome to bring someone with you to the site but they will be asked to wait outside the building. This is in line with the national NHS guidance.

Visitors and coronavirus

Why is The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre restricting visitors?
In order to keep our patients and staff safe, we are restricting access to all our sites with effect from Wednesday 25th March until further notice. No visitors are allowed in our buildings at the current time, other than very exceptional circumstances, in line with the national NHS guidance.

Are there any exceptions to the Visitor Policy?
The national NHS guidance explains the circumstances in which an exception may be made.

What does this mean for wheelchair users and others who may have difficulty walking to their appointment unaided?
Our staff will meet them at reception and take them through for their appointment. A staff member will also escort them back to reception after their appointment.

Does this mean I can’t collect medication from the on-site pharmacy? I have a family member at very high risk who cannot collect it themselves?
If the medications are anti-cancer treatments, chemotherapy or immunotherapy, the patient must collect this themselves. It cannot be given to a family member or friend. Other regular medications, can be collected on the behalf of others from a pharmacy. The national guidance is that a patient who is in a high-risk group and who is feeling well can leave their home for medical reasons. Collecting anti-cancer treatment would be considered a medical reason.

Where can I find the latest information on any changes to the Visitor Policy?
Our website and social media channels have all the latest information about our Visitor Policy. We are keeping them updated so please check here before you visit. Information is also available on our social media accounts: our Twitter and Facebook handles are @CCCNHS.

We will also update this list of frequently-asked questions with the latest NHS guidance and any changes relating to coronavirus.

Medication / Treatment

Will coronavirus affect the medication/treatment I receive?
We are working to ensure the safety of our patients whilst continuing to provide clinical services. Clinicians carefully balance the benefits and risks of all patient treatments (including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy) delivered at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and our other sites – this is in line with government and national advice.

Please be aware that we are now conducting the majority of patient appointments by phone and video to minimise the risk to patients and staff, and reducing footfall within our sites.