COVID-19 latest updates

Thursday, 11th June 2020

Over the last few months, oncology care has been transformed in how we, as clinicians see, consent and communicate with patients as well as the treatment protocols we offer. Some of the changes have been implemented very quickly and have had a hugely positive impact in ensuring patient safety and quality of care. For example, the GenesisCare Telehealth and virtual clinic programme, the launch of eMDT and access to remote webinars for training and education.

A review of GenesisCare’s response to practice change due to Covid-19

  • Outpatient clinic appointments – Telehealth enabled GenesisCare to offer more remote consultations and set up a number of new outpatient diagnostic clinics such as urology, breast and head and neck, at a time when cancer 2-week waits were put on hold in the NHS.Elective surgery postponed for 3 months – leading to a large backlog of cases and reduced theatre capacity GenesisCare has been open to safely treat patients with chemotherapy or radiotherapy whilst they await surgery.
  • Chemotherapies and supporting therapies – were put on hold across the country but cancer patients were given the choice to continue treatment at GenesisCare including continuation of their clinical trial regime.
  • Radiotherapy protocols  changed rapidly especially in breast cancer and GenesisCare adopted all RCR-endorsed hypo-fractionated protocols into the revised GenesisCare protocols. We also introduced internal peer review of all hypo-fractionated referrals and have kept you up to date with all clinical changes through our NEW DoctorHub.
  • Cancer screening & diagnostic services  were put on hold across the country with reduced capacity; GenesisCare’s response was to open 5 One Stop Clinics  across its network to ensure more cancer patients are diagnosed and treated at the right time.
  • Holistic therapies  have been compromised due to lack of face to face appointments and GenesisCare has introduced a remote online service for patients who needed support.
  • Communication and updates  with clinicians and internal staff has been a regular theme within GenesisCare, through our secure Zoom tool, redesigned website and virtual discussion forums.
  • No waiting list for patients  who need to be reviewed urgently, with same day clinic appointment in all our 14 centres.
  • Socialising and feedback – YES, that has happened regularly too, amongst small internal groups and with clinicians during the GM evening (virtual) forums and evening Clinical Management Committees (virtual).
  • Exercise and wellbeing support – offered remotely to all patients and internal GenesisCare staff, now available to doctors. Find out more here.

Ethical dilemmas and framework for clinicians during pandemic – BMA

  • Equal respect and fairness – respect patient choices and keep patients informed
  • Working together and reciprocity – support patients and colleagues when taking high risk decisions and share information appropriately
  • Flexibility in treatment plans – adapt to changing circumstances
  • Open and transparent decision – be inclusive, rational and evidence based
  • Minimise the harm of the pandemic – reduce spread, protect patients and staff, disseminate knowledge of what works and what doesn’t

Quality updates

  • Virtual consultations and meetings have become safer by introducing password protection to all Zoom calls and providing training for clinicians and staff.
  • The eMDT roll out has passed all stages of peer review; this included doctor review by our Clinical Reference Groups (CRGs), Clinical review by our technical staff internally, regulatory and legal reviews to ensure the robustness of data management and Quality review to ensure that robust auditing of the process has been incorporated.
  • Electronic referrals have been temporarily suspended via the www2.genesiscare.co.uk referral portal, while we deliver upgrades. Click here to read the latest announcement and access the new radiotherapy referral and patient consent forms.
  • It’s important that you continue to include the following points when booking and consenting patients online or on paper:
  1. The reason for their treatment and what exactly it entails e.g. breast radiotherapy and SCF or IMC treatment for lymph node positivity – Be specific and clear with your treatment request, including patient position (supine/prone), energy and technique (SIB Boost vs 2-phase Boost, VMAT, electrons)
  2. The minimum cancer dataset which includes histology, radiology, booking form, MDT outcome and clinic letter should be provided at all times together with the patient referral – Sending complete dataset upfront avoids treatment delays
  3. The benefits of the treatment and the risks of not having treatment e g. local and/or distant recurrence and survival – Including risks of catching Covid-19
  4. The risk of contracting Covid-19 is slightly higher today and sits at 8% community risk, but potential complications from contracting the virus depends on individual patient risk, based on comorbidities and performance status.
  5. Concomitant chemotherapy – State name, dose and treatment timing with RT
  6. Statement about pregnancy and pacemaker/ICD device
  • There is a national shortage of IV Ranitidine and we have had to make the following changes in the Paclitaxel chemotherapy protocol:
    • For weekly paclitaxel pre-med, to switch IV Ranitidine 50mg 30 minutes pre-chemo to oral Ranitidine 150mg 60 minutes with immediate effect. Consider IV if patient is unable to swallow.
    • For 2 weekly (accelerated) and 3 weekly paclitaxel regimens: Continue with IV Ranitidine. If Ranitidine IV 50mg unavailable, substitute with Ranitidine 150mg PO to be given the day before and again on morning of paclitaxel. If patient has not taken dose on day before, give 300mg po 60 mins prior to paclitaxel.

 

Updates on staff and patient testing for SARS-CoV-2

GenesisCare is the first provider in UK to have successfully rolled out a weekly staff PCR testing program, which has been running now for 6 weeks. The  number of staff testing positive is less than the community prevalence of SARS-CoV-2, all have self-isolated for 7 days, all re-tested negative and remained asymptomatic throughout.

Our testing program also includes our doctors who practice on site and thank you for your support in rolling this out.

Patients have been PCR tested on demand, if they presented with symptoms or if lung changes have been discovered, consistent with Covid-19, on their diagnostic or planning CT.

The next phase of the testing programme, will be done in the context of a research program, sponsored by GenesisCare and will involve regular asymptomatic patient and staff testing using dual Antibody and PCR tests. This is coming soon once final ethical approval is granted.

Clinical updates

Some of you may have had the chance to attend the online ASCO 2020 meeting a few  weeks ago. If not, a summary of key clinical messages – Your essential Guide to ASCO 2020 – can be found by here.

As always, any questions or comments don’t hesitate to contact me personally.

Kind regards,

James McArthur
General Manager – UK

Penny Kechagioglou 
Chief Medical Officer – UK

Thursday, 21st May

This week is a very special one as we celebrate our entrance into the U.S Market, with the acquisition of 21st Century Integrated Oncology, the 1st in radiotherapy provider in the U.S Market operating across 19 states and in 140 centres. Our global network has just got bigger, with 196 radiotherapy treatment centres across 4 countries (U.S, Spain, UK, Australia) and 443.000 patient treatments per year.

GenesisCare is bringing people and teams together on a global scale, investing in new technology and technological expertise, maximising digital and other forms of innovation in order to make a positive impact on cancer patient outcomes worldwide. We will do this because of our passion for clinical excellence, patient and staff safety and by scaling up our Service of the Future Strategic Model of Care in the U.S, following its successful implementation in the UK, Spain and Australia.

This is a fantastic opportunity for us to replicate our successful UK model in a new Market, including rolling out a Linac replacement programme and investment on MR-Linacs, Digital platforms, e MDT, automation, research and clinical trials. Most importantly, we have the greatest opportunity to connect with world class clinician leaders and academics, share knowledge and expertise and engage each other in high quality research.

Updates on radiotherapy protocols

The following protocols have been recently endorsed by the Royal College of Radiologists:

Head and neck

  • Consider radical radiotherapy if surgery not possible especially oral SCC, paranasal sinus and laryngeal tumours. Hypo-fractionated regimes (20#) and SIB-IMRT to boost nodes ± chemotherapy appropriate
  • Consider short RT regimes in palliative cases and oral pembrolizumab as 1stline metastatic instead of chemotherapy
  • Full PPE needed when treating those patients
  • If patient tests +ve for Covid-19 prior to RT, treatment should be delayed until recovery, if patient develops mild symptoms during RT and tests +ve, treatment should continue and if patient develops severe symptoms during treatment, it should be interrupted until recovery

Lung cancer

  • Lung radiotherapy hypofractionation: SABR 54Gy/3# for tumours within 2.5cm from chest wall with consideration of 48Gy/3# if abutting chest wall to minimise toxicity
  • SABR for moderately central tumours <2cm from bronchial tree, trachea, major vessels, heart, esophagus, brachial plexus or ultracentral tumours with PTV abutting trachea or main bronchi: 4-5# (ASTRO, 40-50Gy) or 8# UK SABR Consortium (60Gy)
  • Central or ultra-central tumours not suitable for SABR, consider hypo# regimes (50-60Gy in 15#)
  • SABR for tumour >5cm possible depending on OAR dose should be discussed with our SABR clinical reference group
  • Extreme hypofractionation such as 30-34Gy/1# SABR for tumours ≤2cm and >1cm from chest wall and which are outside the no-fly zone, should be discussed with the SABR reference group

Booking, consenting and patient information when doing virtual consultations

Virtual consultations are here to stay and below are few tips around the governance of consenting patients in a virtual setting.

  • If you are using the online booking form and consent form, ensure the patient understands the following and that risks and benefits are documented in the consent form ± MOSAIQ electronic health record:
  1. The reason for their treatment and what exactly it entails (eg. breast radiotherapy and SCF/IMC treatment for lymph node positivity)
  2. The benefits of the treatment and the risks of not having treatment (eg. local and/or distant recurrence and survival)
  3. The risks associated with the treatment including risk of contracting Coronavirus (3% community risk) and complications from contracting the virus (individual risk based on comorbidities and performance status).
  4. How to take any medication that they are prescribed
  5. Acute Oncology information, including GenesisCare 24h nurse line
  • If you are using a paper consent form, follow the steps below:
  1. Oral consent to treatment explaining the above 1-5 points
  2. If patients agree to be emailed the consent form (which includes risks and benefits of treatment as per points 1-3 above), ensure this is documented on their MOSAIQ record together with their email address.
  3. Patient will bring the signed consent form to their radiotherapy planning appointment or first SACT treatment and consent will be reconfirmed.
  4. If patients don’t agree to have the consent form emailed to them, it can be posted to them and they can bring it to their first appointment
  • The presence of a pacemaker and whether dependent or not dependent should be clearly stated on the booking form and clinic letter. The lack of such information upfront may delay the CT planning and treatment start date
  • If your patient has gone through the GenesisCare e MDT process, please state in the online or paper booking form along with the date of the MDT. If your patient has been through the NHS MDT, please provide a report or advise how we can retrieve it
  • Your patients will soon be approached to have a nasal and oral PCR swab test on a regular basis (see next section for more details). If you have any concerns or you don’t want your patient to be tested, be inform your centre leader

Updates on staff and patient testing for SARS-CoV-2

As we move to the post pandemic phase, GenesisCare’s focus is to deliver access to quality rapid testing for all employees, doctors and patients in order to ensure the safety of staff and patients.

The swab PCR weekly testing program which has been rolled out successfully to staff and doctors on site since the 23rd of April, will eventually evolve into a hybrid testing approach utilising:

  1. Point of care (POC) test for the Antibody (Ab) to determine who has been exposed to the SARs-CoV-2 virus.
  2. The laboratory-based Reverse transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test which will identify patients with current infection.

This week, we are piloting asymptomatic patient testing in our Milton Keynes centre using oral and nasal swab PCR, as per the following schedule:

Asymptomatic patients

  • On Chemotherapy – testing will be done no longer than 6 days prior to each chemotherapy cycle. Patients will get tested weekly or 3-weekly or depending on the chemotherapy schedule
  • Radiotherapy – patients will get tested prior to fraction 1 and on demand thereafter (if they develop symptoms)
  • Haematology patients – testing follows the same principles as with chemotherapy patients
  • Diagnostic patients will be screened through questionnaires and temperature checks as per our standard procedures

Positive patient result and treating Covid-19 patients at GenesisCare centres

A positive patient result will be communicated to yourselves as referring clinicians as soon as we receive it. According to our partnered lab policy, they will report any positive test results to Public Health England and can provide microbiology advise to you if you so need it. Please discuss this requirement with your centre leader and we will arrange this.

We are supportive of treating well patients with Covid-19 in our centres, if you decide as clinicians to do so. Once a positive patient result is through to us, we will discuss with you on an individual patient basis the operational aspects of treating this patient safely on site. If your patient has already started radiotherapy treatment, we will discuss with you about changing treatment timing for your patient until later on the day. If you wish to delay patient radiotherapy, our expert dosimetrists and physicists will support you around a compensatory dose protocol.

Positive asymptomatic staff results at GenesisCare centres

We test all staff members every week for every centre and the GenesisCare UK research team is leading the testing process, in collaboration with our Director of Operations and Head of People and Culture.

In case of a positive swab test for staff, we advise them a 7-day isolation and we provide a back-up team to cover the service as per our Business Continuity Plan. The staff members get re-tested after their 7-day isolation period and if negative and asymptomatic, they return back to work as normal.

The current rate of positive tests in asymptomatic staff aligns with the prevalence of Covid-19 in the community which is 3% currently.

As UK Leadership team, we are continuing the weekly COBRA calls to ensure that we maintain adequate PPE for staff and patients, adequate cleaning stock, thermometer stock and any defects are replenished immediately. During this call, we share and action with the teams any government or PHE updates and we ensure we share learnings from other centres nationally and internationally.

Antibody (Ab) testing

A validated Antibody testing will soon be introduced to the above protocol for (a)symptomatic staff and patients, to complement the PCR swab test. The protocol for testing is currently subject to ethics approval and will be shared once it is approved.

eMDT updates

With Breast and Haematology e-MDTs now up and running at GenesisCare, more patients have access to our clinical expert forums which follow national and international evidence-based protocols. Access to our e MDT will negate the need for these patients to wait longer for treatment until they are discussed in the NHS MDTs.

You will all soon receive an email from your Referrer Engagement Manager (REM) to sign up to the GenesisCare e-MDT in your area. The MDT report will be saved on MOSAIQ patient electronic health record and will be shared with insurers if requested for treatment authorisation purposes.

Our e-MDT platform is safe and easy to use and enables synchronous (virtual forum) and asynchronous decision making. For the Terms of Reference of your local e-MDT, please ask you centre leader or REM.

DoctorHub updates

Don’t forget to visit our new DoctorHub site for the latest updates on clinical protocols, safety and governance processes in centres, business updates and many more.

We would love to hear from you any suggestions for improvement or any specific updates you would like to see more often.

BAUS guidelines webinar

Following the updated BAUS and RCR guidance on how to manage patients during Covid-19, Philip Charlesworth, Surgical Clinical Director and Philip Camilleri, Uro-oncology Clinical Director hosted a webinar to discuss GenesisCare’s response on how this may impact on our private patients wishing to access treatment at during Covid-19. The webinar discusses our intent today, and moving forward as we work through the challenges presented. Click here to watch.

Please don’t hesitate to contact either of us directly should you have any further questions.

Kind regards

James McArthur

General Manager – UK

Penny Kechagioglou 

Chief Medical Officer – UK

Friday, 8th May

As the country is entering a period of restoration in cancer services, our teams at GenesisCare are here to support you and your patients with fast access to cancer diagnostic pathways for urology and breast cancer, clean and seamless pathways to radiotherapy and chemotherapy, including our MR Linac and SRS service. The safety of staff, doctors and patients is our number one priority at GenesisCare and for that reason we have been running weekly swab testing for staff and doctors onsite, which we will extent to all patients from next week.

Our centres are equipped with appropriate PPE to cover all settings and procedures and you should feel its necessary, face to face clinics and procedures are safe to do on site. We encourage our staff and our doctors to take advantage of the video consultation platform, Telehealth, which we have introduced for consultation and MDTs in order to minimise patient footfall in the centres to protect vulnerable patients and staff. Our research and clinical trial team have put together a proposal for the gradual re-introduction of essential clinical trials, following government guidance.

Resources

Click here; NEW DoctorHub

Access to our latest innovations, protocols and governance and our business and clinical updates.

Click here; NEW Podcast – COVID-19 and the future of healthcare

James McArthur, UK General Manager chats with Australian – UK Chamber of Commerce.

Looking into the future

  • Our Horizon portal will shortly be introducedfor Clinical Oncologists which will enable you to easily and securely book patients for treatment by selecting existing evidence-based clinical protocols in a script format
  • The DoctorHub,hosted on our website has gone live this week, giving you access to our latest innovations, protocols and governance and our business and clinical updates
  • On the 11th of May, we are going live with the first breast cancer eMDT, this is a fantastic step forward to improve our patient quality of care, thanks to all of you, our expert clinical reference groups and the service development teams who have supported the project

Updates on SACT treatments endorsed by NHS England

NHS England has approved some amendments to the systemic anticancer chemotherapy regimens and delivery of those, whilst we are still in the phase of patient shielding for the next 12 weeks. You can find the guidance in the link below.

It is important that you incorporate Covid-19 into your discussions with patients when you consent them for treatment. The general patient risk for catching Covid-19 in the community (around 3%) will apply to any patient who is coming to our centres, due to travelling involved and other environmental exposures. The risk to individual patients may be higher than that depending on their condition and treatment they are receiving.

SACT interim options during Covid-19 

Radiotherapy at GenesisCare

We continue to offer the standard GenesisCare protocols as well as hypofractionated protocols, guided by clinicians. We have incorporated the 26Gy/5# breast protocol ahead of the publication of the Fast Forward trial results and as directed by the RCR.

You can view the Fast Forward trial results paper here

Staff and patient testing for SARS-CoV-2

We’re committed to keeping our teams and patients safe during SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and beyond, by delivering systematic rapid access testing for our clinical teams and patients.

The testing program approach started on the 23rd April for asymptomatic staff and doctors who work in our centres. We’ll also test asymptomatic patients from 15th May. In the meantime, we test all patients and staff who present to our centres with symptoms (on-demand testing) using:

  • The laboratory-based reverse transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)
  • Nasal and throat swabs are taken in centre for PCR testing or kits can be sent home and we will arrange courier service to the lab at our cost

Asymptomatic patients

  • On chemotherapy– testing will be done no longer than 6 days prior to each chemotherapy cycle. Patients will get tested weekly or 3-weekly or depending on the chemotherapy schedule
  • Radiotherapy– patients will get tested prior to fraction 1 and midway through patient treatment if the radiotherapy schedule is ≥3 weeks
  • Haematology patients– testing follows the same principles as with chemotherapy patients
  • Diagnostic patients – will be screened through questionnaires and temperature checks as per our standard procedures

Symptomatic patients

PCR swab testing will take place for patients who are symptomatic. Ideal testing time is around 5 days from symptoms but could be anytime the patients are presented with symptoms. Patients should self-isolate until the PCR swab tests are back and the decision to continue or postpone treatment will be determined in consultation with their referring clinician.

Any patient with positive PCR swab test results will be required to isolate for a minimum of 7 days. During this time the GenesisCare Chief Medical Officer will discuss options with their consultant, including carrying out a virtual MDT to determine best course of treatment.

A further PCR swab test will be carried out after 7 days. Depending on the results, the patient may be treated or is required to continue isolating.

Antibody (Ab) testing

A validated antibody testing will soon be introduced to the above protocol for (a)symptomatic staff and patients, to complement the PCR swab test. The protocol for testing is currently subject to ethics approval and will be shared once it is approved.

Clinical evaluation of CT scans: recognition and escalation of incidental findings suspicious of Covid-19 infection

All patients who attend for a diagnostic CT scan that includes the thorax and base of lungs and all patients on treatment for breast cancer, lung and mediastinal cancer, oesophago-gastric, liver and pancreatic cancers who receive CBCTs during treatment (or on MRL), will be informed at CT consent or prior to fraction 1 of radiotherapy, that incidental findings suggestive of Covid-19 infection may be found on lungs/lung bases and appropriate steps will be taken as follows.

When reviewing the images radiographers look for characteristic appearances: peripheral or patchy ground glass opacification. If these appearances are seen the radiographer must consult a radiologist while the patient is still on the scanner and essential steps will be taken.

Recognition and escalation of incidental findings suspicious of Covid-19 infection policy

UrologyHub and One Stop Breast Clinic

This week we’ve launched further diagnostic services across the network that use world-class clinical protocols and are designed around rapid access pathways that cover every stage, from diagnosis to survivorshipGold standard feedback has been received from patients – thank you and amazing work to the teams that have been involved in the launch’s of the services.

The diagnostic services are also being supported by a range of marketing activities including digital and social media advertising campaigns, a GP email campaign, a range of new printed and digital content plus other channels to be added soon! See some of the creatives below.

“I think the fact you see patients so quickly is absolutely fantastic – I didn’t even have time to worry about my upcoming appointment as it was booked in so quickly. I’ll definitely be recommending GenesisCare to anyone who may need the service.” Patient, Milton Keynes

One Stop Breast Clinic will enable patients to receive same-day diagnostic testing for breast cancer followed by seamless progression to comprehensive breast cancer treatment if needed.

  • Symptoms; lumps, swelling, redness, change in size or shape the breast, nipple changes including inversion, discharge, a rash or crusting, skin puckering or dimpling and persistent pain in the breast or armpit
  • Family history
  • Further testing outside of routine mammograms

Appointments can be made within 24 hours at Maidstone, Milton Keynes and Cambridge, in may cases results will be received on the same day.

Coming in May to…
Windsor and Oxford

Payment options
A call may be required to the insurer for authorisation or a GP referral letter may need to be issued, depending on the provider. Self-pay options are also available.

  • Bilateral mammography from £210
  • Ultrasound from £290

UrologyHub offers fast and easy access, to expert urologists and diagnostic services for a wide range of urological health conditions for men and women, including:

  • Cancers
  • Chronic cystitis
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Kidney and urinary stones
  • Lower urinary tract symptoms – such as urinating more often or at night, weak urine flow or urine retention
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Vasectomy pain or reversal

Appointments can be made within 24 hours at Windsor, Oxford and Cambridge, in many cases results will be received on the same day.

Coming in May to…
Maidstone and Milton Keynes

Payment options
A call may be required to the insurer for authorisation or a GP referral letter may need to be issued, depending on the provider. Self-pay options are also available.

  • Consultation from £225
  • Ultrasound from £290
  • CT scan from £400
  • MRI from £450

As always, any questions or comments don’t hesitate to contact me personally.

James McArthur

General Manager – UK

Penny Kechagioglou 

Chief Medical Officer – UK

 

Friday, 17th April

With Easter now past and moving swiftly towards summer, our centres are getting busier with new outpatient clinics being set up in Oxford and new services being built, including our new One Stop Breast and Urology Clinics in Cambridge and Windsor. Our 14 centres are open, COVID-19 clean and with our workforce stronger than ever to provide great care to our patients using all our modalities in diagnostics, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

As the safety of staff, doctors and patients is our number one priority at GenesisCare, we ensure on a daily basis that adequate PPE is available for all staff. Stocks are reviewed and replenished on a weekly basis when necessary and we have started PCR testing for members of staff in isolation and their close relatives. Our research team is systematically collecting outcome data from those tests and correlating them with symptoms to help us understand the effectiveness of those tests in detecting the virus and the optimal timing of the test.

From next week, we will be in the fortunate position to be able to test our staff and patients with the antibody finger prick test, utilising a robust pathway that we have designed with the support of global infection control experts. The detailed roll out of the testing will be communicated in due course.

Treating cancer patients during COVID-19 and beyond

Basic Principles

  • It is clear from all clinical guidance that has recently been published that diagnostic and treatment work should continue despite COVID-19 when there is capacity to do so, which is exactly what we have managed to do at GenesisCare.
  • At GenesisCare, we have maintained all our departments open, including our Linacs, MR-Linac, SRS, PET-CT, MRI, mammography, ultrasound, chemotherapy and One Stop Clinic services and we have introduced Telehealth and eMDT facilities for clinicians to practice safely in a remote environment.
  • The timing of onset of radiotherapy can have a profound impact on the chance of cure for triple negative breast cancers, head and neck, lung, cervical and anorectal cancers as well as high risk prostate cancers, whereas patients with oligometastases, hepatobiliary and brain tumours can receive excellent palliation and long term survival with SABR or SRS. We believe that it is our duty to continue to treat our cancer patients with the right treatment modality at the time of presentation

Stereotactic radiotherapy

In recent guidelines brain metastases are not considered a priority cancer treatment during COVID-19. At GenesisCare, we are challenging that approach in that a single fraction (SRS) or hypo-fractionated brain radiotherapy (SRT) can improve quality of life for patients and may delay neurological deterioration from growing tumours. Patients can experience a seamless service at GenesisCare with scanning, simulation and treatment all completed within the same week, avoiding unnecessary delays in treatment.

A recent case using the GenesisCare SRS Service in Oxford
The case of a 46y old man, with known renal cell carcinoma, with a very good response to immunotherapy and performance status 0-1 presented with seizures, with a CT scan and MRI head showing multiple brain metastases. The case was referred to our weekly GenesisCare UK Neuro-Oncology MDT and the outcome was to offer SRS. The patient was treated with SRS to 9 brain metastases and seen 6 weeks after treatment, continuing immunotherapy for his extracranial disease, in low dose steroids, without any focal neurology and performance status 0.

The referral process has been simplified and is supported by our wonderful SRS coordinator, Lisa Meade.
The Neuro-Oncology MDT Team reviews cases weekly via the ContextHealth platform, on Sunday nights, with the SRS Huddle of physicists, radiographers, dosimetrists. The Neuro-Oncology MDT is comprised of Neuroradiologists, Neurosurgeons and Neuro- Oncologists. If the Neuro-Oncology MDT ratifies the decision to treat then this proceeds immediately; if not, the referrer is invited to a Zoom MDT call for a live discussion with the MDT.

Breast cancer

Patients with breast cancer currently face great dilemmas when making decisions about cancer treatment and our teams at GenesisCare have tried to make it simple for clinicians and patients to navigate through those treatment choices.

As such, we have kept our standard breast radiotherapy protocols and techniques, including 15# for advanced node positive disease, VMAT IMC, SIB when boost is required, partial breast irradiation (PBI) and we have also adopted the hypo-fractionated regime (26Gy/5) for selected patients who would benefit.

DIBH is still used for all left sided cancers and selected right sided cancers, including IMC, SIB and PBI treatments.

Prostate cancer

We have listened to our patient feedback and we firmly believe that our patients should be given the choice to start radiotherapy treatment sooner rather than later. Our patient experience forums have told us that the side effects from hormonal treatment can be debilitating and non-comparable to the minor side effects from 5# prostate treatment on the MRL or indeed 20-37# with SpaceOAR(r) Hydrogel insertion.

Our COVID-19 clean centres and our well-trained teams in infection control practices, from our taxi drivers to the receptionists and radiographers, will ensure our patient comfort and treatment safety throughout the treatment course.

SABR

Patients with early stage inoperable lung cancer treated with stereotactic body radiotherapy have a survival benefit compared to patients treated with conventional radiotherapy or no radiotherapy. SABR cause less lymphopenia than traditional dose fractionations, making it a safer treatment modality during COVID-19.

Gomez et al (JCO, 2019) reported their multi-institutional outcomes from Local Consolidative SBRT vs Maintenance Systemic Therapy or Observation for Patients with Oligometastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Accrual stopped early due to significant Progression Free Survival benefit of SBRT vs systemic treatment maintenance or no treatment.

Rudra et al (2019, Cancer Medicine) looked at the use of adaptive magnetic image-guided radiation therapy for treatment of inoperable pancreatic cancer. High dose SBRT, only possible on the MR Linac, improves overall survival versus low dose RT (49% 2y OS vs 30% 2y OS) in locally advanced pancreatic cancer.

Palma D et al (2019, The Lancet 393:2051-2058) demonstrated at their randomised phase 2 trial (SABR- COMET) that SABR versus standard of care palliative treatment in patients with oligometastatic cancers offers a significant overall survival advantage of 13 months and a doubled progression-free survival, with no detriment in quality of life.

How to refer a patient for SABR

  • Simple SABR
    Refer to any clinical oncology colleague at your local GenesisCare centre with the appropriate credentialing. Your centre manager will be able to provide a list of SABR approved Consultants.
  • Complex SABR
    You can refer these cases in the same process if your local centre also delivers Complex SABR. Otherwise you can refer to a centre delivering Complex SABR via the SABR Coordinator,
    Lisa Meade, lisa.meade@genesiscare.co.uk, 07391392605

Cancer surgery versus radiotherapy

We have heard about the reduction in theatre space for all types of cancer in the NHS and the private sector during this pandemic and we believe that whenever possible, patients should be offered a suitable alternative such as radiotherapy.

Our centre managers, referrer engagement managers and teams on site are inviting you to discuss your patient treatment priorities, so that we can find together an individualised treatment solution that best suits your patient circumstances.

Telehealth (Zoom) security

Following concerns that have been raised by the media regarding security of Zoom, we’re going to be implementing additional security steps to maintain a secure platform. Our IT team are in regular contact with Zoom’s leadership and security teams to further understand these concerns relating to the current encryption mechanisms, we can confirm zoom-to-zoom calls are encrypted, as a further measure we’re going to be implementing a six digit password policy. You should expect to receive a communication next week covering all details on how to get started with the new security process.

Patient reported outcome measure (PROMiNET)

Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) are the gold standard of patient outcome data. They’re provided directly by the patient and avoid the inherent bias’ that comes with clinician reported outcomes.

GenesisCare is excited to announce the launch of our own PROMs programme. This will be done largely

through the launch of a dedicated GenesisCare branded App called PROMiNET.

Over the last few months, our UK Clinical Reference Groups (breast, prostate, SABR and haematology) have reviewed a number of platforms and have agreed a preferred list of patient reported outcome tools. These vary from validated tools such as the EORTC BR45 for breast cancer to a bespoke list of toxicity questions based on CTCAE-PROMs for patients receiving stereotactic radiotherapy on the MRIdian MR-linac, as well as a mixture of standard tool and bespoke questions for haematology patients on chemotherapy and prostate cancer patients receiving radiotherapy treatment. The expectation is that eventually this offering will extend to other disease sites.

Patients will be supported by centre staff and encouraged to download the free App, onto their smartphone or tablet. Once registered, they will be asked to fill out the specific question sets according to their treatment. The App is designed to send out reminder emails with clickable links which will take the patient to their secure question sets.

The introduction of the App commences later this month and will be rolled out across all GenesisCare centres throughout the Spring.

The data will be available to GenesisCare who will then be responsible for the analysis of the data collected. The collection of this data is central to GenesisCare’s value proposition of leading with quality in all that we do.

Thursday, 9th April

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, I wanted to keep you up to date on our treatment status, centre preparedness and business continuity plans.

Treatment continues as usual and we are prepared to treat all patients without delay

Safety and testing

GenesisCare remains committed to ensuring that cancer patients can continue to receive the care they need in our centres. All our centres are operating as usual and we are continuing to treat patients without delay. We are working with referring doctors to adjust patient treatment dates and protocols only for those most at risk patients.

GenesisCare continues to be a safe place for patients to receive treatment. We have robust screening processes in place for patients, staff and doctors to protect them and to enable treatment to continue. Our staff are equipped with the necessary PPE and we have sufficient stock to meet our treatment needs

We will undertake a pilot in two of our centres to extend testing to our, staff, patients and our clinicians. The pilot will commence shortly after Easter and once procedures are established we will roll out to all centres. We will keep you informed of when patient testing will begin, the exact process we will follow and your expert involvement in the decision to treat.

We are continually reviewing our approach and pro- actively updating to respond to the science, official guidance and GenesisCare’s global policy.

Patient treatment options

We are aware that as the spread of coronavirus escalates and pressure builds in the NHS, some patient’s cancer treatment may be delayed or deferred. We encourage you to continue to refer your private patients to GenesisCare and we will arrange appointments, planning and treatment in a timely manner. We are aware several surgical procedures are being rationed or postponed in the NHS to understandably manage capacity. Now more than ever we need to support the NHS to manage scarce resources. Please ensure MDT treatment options include MRLinac as a non-invasive alternative for radical treatment including lung, liver, pancreatic and prostate patients who may be appropriate for MRLinac protocol. Please contact your local Centre Leader or Referrer Engagement Manager to get your patients access to this treatment option.

Patients will naturally feel anxious during this period about whether their treatment will carry on or not and they are asked to make potentially life-saving decisions. We are here to support your patients accessing treatment for breast cancer and prostate cancer with standard

or hypofractionated regimes, in a sterile environment. We encourage you to consider life-prolonging palliative therapies such as SABR for oligometastatic disease
and radiotherapy regimes for unresectable tumours such as pancreatic cancer or to delay surgery as in the case of rectal cancer.

A reminder that our private transport option for those patients that require it also helps limit the risk of infection. Our contracted drivers are following strict screening and hygiene processes in response to our guidance.

Finally, we are continuing to support our patients by offering consultations with Penny Brohn UK, wellbeing consultants remotely who are trained to help cancer patients get through their treatment and the challenges faced during the pandemic.

One stop clinics

In order to ensure patients are able to 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. Cambridge One-Stop clinics will go-live in April and Windsor Breast clinics will begin in May.

Private and NHS patients

Our primary focus continues to be providing a safe and secure environment for our private patients and we are working closely with the private medical insurance companies to ensure streamlined pathways and adequate provision is available in every centre.

We are also working on ways to support NHS patients, as part of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, of which we are a member. You may have read media coverage yesterday that GenesisCare, together with 2 other private providers, have agreed a deal to treat 20,000 NHS patients, this report is incorrect. Whilst we are ready to support NHS England, no deal has been agreed. NHS England will determine how GenesisCare and other private providers can best support the health system and remain ready to provide cancer care where once this important evaluation has been completed.

Easter bank holiday weekend

Over the Easter bank holiday weekend our centres will remain open to continue to treat patients, as follows:

  • Friday 10th April – treating all radiotherapy patients as normal
  • Monday 13th April – CAT 1 patients who cannot have a double fraction on Tuesday e.g. dose>2.2Gy /#

Friday, 3rd April

Genesiscare guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing for COVID-19

The safety of staff, doctors and patients is our number one priority at GenesisCare. We have been proactive in the UK and globally to ensure that sufficient supplies of PPE and infection control products are available to keep our staff, doctors and patients safe. All existing stock of has been fairly distributed to sites.

At GenesisCare UK we have been following Public Health England/World Health Organisation (WHO) advice on the use of PPE for COVID-19. As we learn more about the pathophysiology and presentation of COVID-19, we are adapting our practices pro-actively in advance of PHE and WHO, in order to ensure the maximum protection for our people and patients, whilst keeping our 14 UK sites COVID-free.

We have adopted the following PPE precautions for staff and doctors across our UK network effective immediately

Disposable gloves
Must be worn when providing direct patient care and when exposure to blood or other body fluids is likely, including during equipment and environmental decontamination. Non-sterile gloves are sufficient, except when performing aseptic procedures.

Disposable plastic aprons
Must be worn to protect staff uniform or clothes from contamination when providing direct patient care and during environmental and equipment decontamination.

Fluid resistant surgical face masks (FRSM)
Must be worn by all clinical staff during direct patient contact.

Long-sleeved fluid resistant disposable gown
Must be worn when there is a risk of extensive splashing of blood and/or other body fluids or when treating head and neck patients.

Eye protection / face visor
Must be worn when there is a risk of contamination to the eyes from splashing of secretions (including respiratory secretions), blood, body fluids or excretions or when treating head and neck patients. If using reusable safety goggles these must be cleaned with disinfectant wipes between patients.

FFP2 or FFP3 masks
Must be worn together with long sleeved gown, eye protection and gloves in case of contact with patient known to have COVID-19 and for aerosol generated procedures, which for GenesisCare only applies to nasendoscopy procedures in head and neck clinics.

  • We have allocated space in our centres for donning and doffing PPE
  • See PHE quick guides on donning and doffing full PPE

Click for our full PPE guidance

PPE during Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

Full aerosol generating procedure (AGP) and personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn by all members of the resuscitation/emergency team before entering the room. Sets of AGP PPE is readily available where resuscitation equipment is being locally stored.

No chest compressions or airway procedures should be undertaken without full AGP PPE. If chest compressions or airway procedures are necessary, all staff undertaking these tasks MUST wear eye protection/face visor and long-sleeved fluid resistant disposable gown and an FFP2 or FFP3 respirator maskResus council guidance should be followed in all instances.

Use of PPE for non-clinical staff

Non-clinical staff (e.g. receptionists, admin staff etc.) practice social distancing and whenever possible maintaining distance of 2 metres from patients.

Non-clinical staff may choose to wear a FRSM (surgical face mask). If so, masks should be changed every 2 hours or if damaged or contaminated.

Testing patients and staff for COVID-19

Our global taskforce on COVID-19 have been working with global infection control experts and our UK Clinical Reference Group have held talks with several providers of test kits to ensure that we offer the right test for the right cohort of people.

As such and over the coming weeks, we will be rolling out a test programme for all staff and their close carers at home. Subject to final clinical review, we will likely take a hybrid testing approach utilising antibody point of care serology testing and PCR antigen testing via trusted UK laboratories. We will extend this programme to doctors who work on site, our centres and we’ll collect anonymised outcomes to evaluate the effectiveness of this testing programme.

We continue to consult our infection control specialists in the UK to roll out a similar testing programme for our high-risk patients during this pandemic. This testing capability for patients will begin in the next 2 weeks and will provide confidence to patients and their clinicians prior to embarking on essential cancer treatment.

GenesisCare position on SABR treatment in Oligometastatic disease and radical cancer treatment

The SABR-COMET trial follow-up was extended beyond 5 years due to the continuous overall survival benefit demonstrated. The summary of study outcomes is as follows:

  • SABR-COMET was the first randomised trial demonstrating an impact of any ablative therapy on a primary endpoint of overall survival in patients with oligo-metastases
  • The effects of SABR on OS were larger in magnitude than previously reported, with a median OS benefit of 22 months (compared to 13 months in the original analysis), corresponding to an absolute benefit of 24.6% at 5-years
  • SABR did not result in a detriment in quality of life, and no new safety signals were apparent
  • A finding of a comparatively short median PFS benefit (6 months in this trial) in the setting of a longer median OS benefit generally indicates that post-progression treatment with SABR is influencing the OS benefit
  • Patients treated with SABR for oligometastases should undergo imaging surveillancewith salvage SABR used if safe

SABR is indicated in case of 1-5 metastases when the primary tumour is well controlled and re treatment is possible on progression.

At GenesisCare, we are able to offer simple and complex SABR treatment in the following centres.

SABR as radical treatment offered at GenesisCare

Our MR Linac service at GenesisCare in Oxford is running a full operational service Monday to Friday, treating patients with radical and palliative intent with SABR.

Following recent publication of emergency COVID-19 radiotherapy guidance by the Royal College of Radiologists, we are best placed to deliver hypofractionated radiotherapy treatments in our MR Linac, with dedicated clinical oncology team on site to support planning adaptation and with remote planning capabilities also available. Our COVID-19 clean service gives patients the extra reassurance when they attend for treatment.

Patients with prostate, lung and pancreatic cancer can be treated radically in only few fractions, with excellent long-term outcomes and avoiding complicated and risky surgery.

We encourage all clinicians to consider SABR treatment during multi-disciplinary team discussions.

Refer for MRIdian
We welcome enquiries and referrals. Any patient referred for MRIdian treatment will be returned to the care of the referrer once treatment has been completed.

To refer to one of our MRIdian specialists
01865 224 864
oxford.enquiries@genesiscare.co.uk

Download a referral form

Changes to patients chemotherapy treatments

Please ensure any changes to planned chemotherapy treatments including delays, dose reductions and cancellations of full or part treatments are communicated to the pharmacy and chemotherapy teams immediately using department group emails.

Could the changes notification be completed as early as possible to ensure any ordered dose can be stopped to minimise wastage.

 

Our key focus continues to be ensuring cancer patients receive the care they need in a safe environment. The clinical and non-clinical teams are working tirelessly to ensure our centres remain open and are able to treat patients without delay. Should you wish to talk to myself or Penny about any aspect of your patient’s care, please get in touch.

Thursday, 26th March

Coronavirus update

As the COVID-19 situation continues to change, GenesisCare are adapting our processes and policies to ensure our staff and patients remain safe and that we are able to treat patients without delay. Currently all our centres are operating as usual and we are continuing to treat patients every day. 

Please see below up-to-date communications on services to support patient consultation and treatment.

eMDT platform

We appreciate that our surgical and oncology colleagues will face difficult decisions about patient care over the coming days and weeks and it is important that multi-disciplinary meetings continue to take place to navigate through those decisions. GenesisCare is therefore accelerating the roll out of eMDT to ensure all best practice protocols are maintained for patients.

The eMDT platform provides real time, decision making solutions using state-of-the-art video and data collaboration technology which enhances the clinical processes without the technology getting in the way.  Patient care flows seamlessly utilising unique decision-tracking and teleconferencing software which is GDPR compliant and protects the flow of sensitive medical record data whilst maintaining the high standards of confidentiality.

Over the next few days you will receive information and training about how to join our eMDT for discussion of all your private breast, prostate (including Theranostic) and neurosurgical patients.

A short video which explains the eMDT technology platform can be viewed here

Protocol guidance and changes

Breast

The breast Clinical Reference Group (CRG) feel that it is appropriate to be able to enable clinicians to have the ability to replicate how they may decide to treat patients in the NHS and through their private practice. See links below:

Prostate

Read here a detailed explanation from Dr Philip Camilleri, Chair Urology Clinical Reference Group, on ways in which we can continue to support prostate patients during this unprecedented time.

This includes:

  • 20 and 33 fraction prostate referrals
  • 5 fraction SABR for patients throughout the UK on the MRIdian MRLinac in Oxford
  • Provision of 5 fraction complex SABR which we anticipate being available in Birmingham, Guildford, Oxford, Cambridge and Nottingham
  • SpaceOar insertion under local anaesthetic

 

SpaceOAR®

As you will be aware, following NHS England’s announcement over the weekend that our private hospital colleagues are pivoting all capacity and resources to support our NHS Trusts as they tackle COVID-19. As a result, all GenesisCare patients referred for a SpaceOAR® insertion scheduled with partner hospitals under general anaesthetic have been cancelled from Monday 30 March 2020.

Therefore, please note that we will be contacting all patients who have been referred to GenesisCare for prostate radiotherapy treatment including SpaceOAR®. We will make them aware that we are notifying you of the options below and that they should contact your secretary in order to discuss how you both wish to proceed.

From next week your patients can access SpaceOAR® under local anaesthetic at:

  • GenesisCare Windsor: Consultant Urologists Mr Philip Charlesworth, Mr Marc Laniado and Mr Neil Haldar are all credentialed to provide the service in an outpatient clinic
  • GenesisCare Oxford: Consultant Urologists Mr Simon Brewster and Mr Tom Leslie
  • GenesisCare Maidstone: Consultant Urologist Mr Hide Yamamoto
  • GenesisCare Newmarket: Consultant Urologist Mr Christof Kastner

Alternatively

  • Patients have the option to continue with external beam radiotherapy without SpaceOAR® insertion or
  • Suitable patients can be referred for 5 fraction prostate radiotherapy on the MRIdian linac at GenesisCare Oxford, where SpaceOAR® is NOT required. Project Primrose is in place to support that process

Starting immediately, and for the next 2 weeks may I request that you only contact Nicki Coxall, Service Development Assistant to discuss your existing and future referrals in relation to SpaceOAR insertions on 07900 484840 or nicola.coxall@genesiscare.co.uk

In the coming weeks we will provide further updates on how we expect to credential more Urologists to extend the local anaesthetic service provision and how this in turn will support all of our sites with additional access for you and your patients.

Thank for your cooperation and understanding.

Chemotherapy - solid cancer

We are adopting best practice and advise the following:

  • Consider 3-weekly rather than weekly chemotherapy regimes to reduce patient visits
  • Consider GCSF for all high-risk regimes including anthracyclines, taxanes, platinum, haematological regimes and in patients with past history or high risk of neutropenic sepsis
  • Consider using genomic testing to guide chemotherapy decisions
  • Choose single agent palliative chemotherapies with lower toxicity risk
  • In stable patients on oral chemotherapy, prescribe 2 cycles of treatment at any time to minimise clinic and pharmacy time
  • Switching intravenous treatments to subcutaneous or oral alternatives where this would be beneficial
  • Using shorter treatment regimens, for example 4 cycles of adjuvant treatment instead of 6 cycles
  • Decreasing the frequency of immunotherapy regimens, for example moving to 4-weekly or 6-weekly
  • Providing repeat prescriptions of oral medicines or other at-home treatments without patients needing to attend the centre
  • Deferring treatments that prevent long-term complications such as denosunab
  • Offering anti-Her2 treatments for 6 months instead of 12 months
  • Using treatment breaks for long-term treatments (possibly for longer than 6 weeks)

Hematological malignancies

  • Avoid face-to-face consults and convert to Zoom appointments
  • Watch and Wait and if stable/non-progressive, then postpone appointment for 4 months if safe to do so
  • Watch and wait and if progressing, at next scheduled appointment, perform local blood test with “bleed and go” with follow up  telephone consult
  • CLL Stage B/C needing treatment- review if treatment truly essential and aim to delay
  • CLL Non-trial patient / if patient needs immediate treatment now: avoid fludarabine and bendamustine, consider chlorambucil obinutuzumab as alternative for all or Venetoclast ± Obinutuzumab or Ibrutinib
  • If on oral BTKi or Venetoclax – perform telephone consult , prescribe medication in advance, “bleed and go” on day with immediate prescription pick up, increase intervals for patients being seen
  • Consider postponing Rituximab component of Venetoclax Rituximab during Ritxuximab phase of treatment
  • If initiating relapse therapy, oral BTKi would result in less hospital attendance, therefore preferable to VR in this situation
  • If commencing Venetoclax, review level of monitoring needed for TLS monitoring
  • Consider risk and benefit of IVIG infusions during pandemic period

Radiotherapy protocols during a pandemic

At GenesisCare, we are committed to providing the best possible treatments for cancer patients, when they need it. We are following current evidence, leveraging our advanced technologies and following robust infection control procedures to ensure our patients continue to receive excellent care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We appreciate that during this pandemic, clinical protocols need to be adapted and technique capabilities maximised to ensure all cancer patients are treated without delays and their long-term outcomes are not compromised.

The following protocols and techniques are delivered at all our centres and are aligned with the Royal College of Radiologists guidelines.

View protocol by tumour group:

Or click here to view all protocols

Treating COVID-19 patients

Wherever safe to do so, patients will have treatment, delayed until after symptoms have resolved and isolation period is over.  However, there will be occasions where it is clinically necessary for treatment to continue:

  • Radiotherapy and diagnostic patients are scheduled at the end of the day when there are fewer patients and staff in the building
  • On arrival patients are provided with a waterproof surgical mask
  • Staff contact with patients are kept to a minimum and any staff needing to have contact or to be in close proximity will wear full PPE (gloves, apron, surgical face mask)
  • Patients are not held in a waiting room but escorted directly to the department by clinical staff
  • Theranostics patients are escorted to the allocated isolation uptake room
  • Once treatment is complete patients leave the centre immediately
  • Staff continue to wear PPE and clean all hard surfaces with appropriate detergent and disinfectant
  • Cleaning contractors made aware and room cleaned at earliest opportunity
  • Room remains out of service until full cleaning has occurred

All staff are confident about donning and doffing PPE procedures

Risk stratification: Chemotherapy and RT

Clinicians should continue to discuss with patients the risk and benefits of having treatment at this time.  Informed consent is required and should be clearly noted.

Reference to the complete abstract ‘Estimating risks of COVID infection’ can be accessed here

NICE guidance

In line with NICE guidelines vulnerable patients who need case by case discussion regarding treatment are summarised below:

Patients with cancer diagnosis

  • People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • 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 or PARP inhibitors
  • People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs

Patients with non-cancer diagnosis

  • Solid organ transplant recipients
  • People with significant respiratory conditions such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and COPD
  • People with cardiovascular diseases and uncontrolled diabetes
  • Women who are pregnant
  • People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism

Click here to access the full NICE guidelines

Remote planning

Our dosimetry and physics teams are fully functional and working remotely.  Treatment planning activities will be completed remotely for all doctors with the dosimetrist or physicist from your treatment centre liaising with you to make this possible.  They use remote shadowing software with the capability to screen share and take control over your session. For more simple cases virtual simulations can be used which is used by a large number of our current referrers.

Self-pay pricing

We are receiving a growing number of enquiries from clinicians and from patients directly wishing to fund their own radiotherapy treatment in order to start or continue their treatment as soon as possible.

To streamline the process, we have simplified our tariff by tumour type and modality and reduced the price in an effort to make it as accessible as possible.

We will also offer patients the full supportive suite of holistic services to guide them through their cancer journey including:-

  • Private transport to and from treatment appointments to minimise the risk of infection to patients
  • Exercise Medicine – bespoke 12-week exercise medicine programme
  • Penny Brohn– wellbeing support and counselling, currently being conducted by phone

If you have a patient interested in self-funding their treatment, please contact your Centre Leader who will be able to assist you.

Telehealth / virtual clinics

A reminder that in light of recent communications to reduce patient footfall in centres we have requested that all patient consultations are now conducted by video conferencing or telephone. Should you need to be physically present for a patient treatment, consultation or test, please liaise directly with the respective Centre Leader.

Click here for a guide on how to use our video conferencing tool, Zoom

Click here to download the ‘Telehealth for patients at GenesisCare’ guide

Clinical trials

Our research team and principal investigators will continue to treat existing cancer patients on life-savings clinical trials at GenesisCare. However, we are pausing further recruitment of patients in order to deploy our nurses and pharmacists to areas of higher clinical need.

 

NHS England has clearly stated that cancer services need to continue to deliver good care whilst recognising patient vulnerabilities and risk assessing on an individual basis. At GenesisCare, we have taken robust screening and protection measures for our staff and our patients and we will continue to strive to deliver the best possible care.

Monday, 16th March

Coronavirus Update – GenesisCare continues to treat without delay

As the COVID-19 pandemic is changing rapidly, we wanted to keep you up to date with information on our treatment status, centre preparedness and business continuity plans.

Treatment continues as usual and until further notice 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.  We will work with referring doctors to adjust patient treatment dates and protocols only for those most at risk patients.

We would like to assure you that GenesisCare is a safe place for patients to receive treatment. At the start of February we implemented a screening process for all patients and visitors and are confident that we have robust measures in place to protect staff and patients. Our approach is being updated pro-actively to respond to the science, official guidance and GenesisCare’s global policy.

We are aware that as the spread of coronavirus escalates and pressure builds in the NHS, some patient’s cancer treatment may be delayed or deferred. We encourage you to continue to refer your private patients to GenesisCare and we will arrange appointments, planning and treatment in a timely manner. A reminder that our private transport option for those patients that require it also helps limit the risk of infection. Our contracted drivers are following strict hygiene processes in response to our guidance.

We are aware several surgical procedures are being rationed or postponed in the NHS to understandably manage capacity. Now more than ever we need to support the NHS to manage scarce resources. Please ensure MDT treatment options include MRLinac as a non-invasive alternative for radical treatment including prostate patients that might be appropriate for all treatment options including prostatectomy or radiotherapy using the 5 fraction MRLinac protocol. Please contact either of us or your local Referrer Engagement Manager to get your patients access to this treatment option.

Diagnosis and treatment

In order to ensure patients are able to 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. Cambridge One-Stop clinics will go-live in April and Windsor Breast clinics will begin in May.

NHS Patients

We are also working on ways to support NHS patients, both by directly working with Trusts close to our centres and as part of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, of which we are a member.  Should we start to treat NHS patients, we will keep you informed to ensure you are aware of pathways, procedures and treatment protocols. At the moment we are focused on supporting private patients and managing footfall to ensure we are limiting risk across our network in order that we can continue to treat without interruption.

Patient clinics and on-treatment reviews

We believe that all patients should have access to their consultants, prior to and during treatment as part of their care.  However, we request that all patient consultations are now conducted by video conferencing or telephone to reduce footfall in centres.  Should you need to be physically present for a patient treatment, consultation or test, please liaise directly with the respective Centre Leader. The Centre Leaders will support in providing secure video conferencing and ‘how to’ guides for both yourself and patients to ensure the virtual consultation goes as smoothly as possible.

On-treatment reviews conducted with our radiographers will be done via telephone rather than in person. Any patient related concerns will be raised to the patient’s consultant as per our standard process.

Patients attending our centres

We are advising patients to avoid bringing companions to the centre unless it is absolutely necessary to support their care.  In this instance, patients are advised to limit this to one companion only.

Treatment planning / contouring and plan approvals

We have asked our dosimetry and physics teams to work remotely to reduce staff in our centres as this staff group have remote access.  Treatment planning activities will be completed remotely for all doctors with the dosimetrist or physicist from your treatment centre liaising with you to make this possible.  They use remote shadowing software with the capability to screen share and take control over your session. For more simple cases virtual simulations can be used which is used by a large number of our current referrers.

Updated RCR Guidance

We have also reviewed the updated guidance which has been issued by the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) on Friday 13th March 2020.  The RCR guidance is detailed in bold below:-

For patients who are self-isolating, we will discuss the risk / benefit of attending for treatment with our local infection control team, considering the latest government guidance

  • GenesisCare is a safe place for patients to receive treatment. Our patients benefit from our smaller departments and our ability to provide remote working for many of our processes.

When capacity is limited, providers consider evidence-based shorter fractionation schedules and deferring radiotherapy for some groups.  

  • GenesisCare is committed to maintaining global best practice and will maintain established protocols without the need to move short fractionations unless the referring doctors believes it is clinical appropriate and it is approved by GenesisCare CAT review.

For patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection, consider cohorting on one machine or in one part of the department. 

  • As we typically operate in single linac departments we try not move patients to an alternative linac in a beam matched adjacent site as the RCR guidelines stipulate. We are however, able to take special measures to allow treatment of these patients. This would mainly cover patients where a treatment gap is not possible such as Category 1 patients.  We will continue treatment in as safe a way as possible.  They will be treated at the end of the day, in an empty department with only 2 treatment radiographers present. Staff will wear the advised PPE equipment and clean the treatment area afterwards.

Where gaps in treatment occur, try to compensate as per the RCR guidelines. We recognise that despite this, gaps in treatment may affect outcomes

  • We will follow RCR guidance on treatment gaps and offer radiobiological gap calculations to try to ensure that treatment is as close to the initial intent as possible. As commented above, currently we does not expect treatment gaps will occur but will update if operational downtime becomes an issue.

SACT treatments

Our recommendation is that all our clinicians consider adding GCSF support to SACT regimes on iQemo for highest risk of causing neutropenic sepsis, including anthracyclines, taxanes, platinum treatments and hematological regimes.

Continued service

We will continue to monitor the evolving situation and continue to follow both government and RCR guidelines. Any updates will be clearly communicated with the patients and consultants.

We would like to reassure you that we continue to put our patients care at the centre of everything we do and provide our high standards throughout this situation.

Friday, 13th March

Please note: as the information we have about COVID-19 is changing rapidly, this information is only valid on the day you receive it. Please keep up to date using the websites listed at the end of this document.

We are aware that you are concerned about coronavirus and need to understand the measures we have taken as a business to prevent the spread of the virus.

Across all our centres, we are doing all we can to safeguard our patients, staff and visitors from the risk of contracting Coronavirus to ensurepatient treatment and care remains unaffected. To date, we haven’t experienced any Covid-19 cases with patient, staff members or visitors and we are continuing to provide clinical services across all centres.

This document is to provide you with some information about how this situation might affect you and your patient care and how you can look after yourself.

Following recent government guidance (issued 12th March 2020), you are advised to stay at home and self-isolate if you have either:

  • A new, continuous cough
  • A high temperature

You can read the government advice about staying at home.

Attending a GenesisCare centre

We are continuing with patient visits and consultations in centre, however, the following guidelines are in place to minimise the risk of any infection.

  • You may choose to videoconference rather than have face to face consultations.  Please ask your centre leader about setting up a virtual clinic if patients cannot be served by telephone alone
  • No handshaking policy
  • Defer large meetings when possible
  • Ensure regular handwashing
  • Stay at home if you have symptoms and follow government advice
  • Disinfect high touch surfaces regularly and between users
  • Limit food handling and sharing of food in the workplace

General advice for your patients

  • Avoid crowded places such as public transport, cinemas, restaurants/cafés/pubs, supermarkets at peak time and large gatherings of people, e.g. football matches etc.
  • It is fine for them to go outside but try to avoid close (within a metre) contact with other people and for the time being avoid shaking hands
  • Patient should stay active and continue with regular exercise in their own home or outdoors or in small groups
  • Due to the greater risk of infection due to a reduced immune system, we would advise that they avoid going to public exercise facilities, gyms and swimming pools. Avoid exercising in large groups even outdoors i.e. running groups, track events, team sports
  • Patient should minimise the number of home visitors and ask friends/family not to visit you if they have coughs and colds. They should ensure that people they live with understand that they could potentially pass on COVID-I9 even if they feel perfectly well
  • If any of your patients develops symptoms and you suspect they have COVID-19 or are diagnosed with COVD-19, it is your duty to report them to PHE after consulting with them that you are going to do so. This is because COVID-19 has been declared communicable disease and a pandemic and this is government advice
  • If patients suffer from symptoms of neutropenic sepsis and are suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, they should follow standard procedures and ring 999 as per their Acute Oncology 24h advice card

Advice to give to patients waiting to start or are undergoing treatment

If a patient who is referred for treatment or is undergoing treatment at GenesisCare becomes a suspected or confirmed case of Coronavirus, we will take the following steps to ensure that we fulfil the duty of care for these patients, whilst at the same time protecting our employees, our doctors and the local community from infection spread.

  • For patients who have not started treatment yet, we will delay them until the recommended self-isolation period or viral treatment is completed and we have confirmation from the patient GP or hospital clinic that the patient is fit to continue with treatment.
  • For patients already undergoing chemotherapy or radionuclide treatments, we will delay the subsequent cycles until the recommended self-isolation period or viral treatment is completed and we have confirmation from the patient GP or hospital clinic that the patient is fit to continue with treatment.
  • For patients already undergoing radiotherapy, we have a duty of care and treatment will not be interrupted, unless patients are clinically unwell and/or in-patients. If patients are asymptomatic, we will endeavour to treat them at the end of the day after all other patients have completed treatment. Our employees will be equipped with appropriate protective equipment and the treatment area will be decontaminated immediately after treatment is completed.

What are we doing to protect patients, staff and visitors?

We have a team who meet daily to review the Coronavirus situation both globally and here in the UK, making sure we have plans in place to be able to continue to provide clinical care across all centres. We are following the advice and guidance being issued by Public Health England to all healthcare providers and updating our plan in line with any changes or updates.

All staff are being updated weekly with any updated guidance, any changes to process and measures being taken.

Screening

Prior to attending any GC centre, all patients and visitors are receiving a telephone call from a member of the GC team who will undertake a screening questionnaire to assess any risk factors of exposure to Coronavirus. If any risk factors known, individuals will be directed to contact the NHS 111 service and follow the advice given.

In the event we are unable to contact an individual prior to attendance at the centre, we ask that all patients and visitors complete a screening questionnaire in the centre on arrival.

Awareness

You will see posters on display in our centre(s) that explain the symptoms of Coronavirus and request to notify a member of staff if circumstances change during the course of treatment. Handwashing notices are on display to remind all patients and visitors of good handwashing technique.

Hand hygiene

We have been working with our providers to ensure that we have adequate supply of hand soap and hand sanitiser. At this point in time that we do not anticipate any shortage of supplies to support good hand hygiene provision across our centres. All our staff are trained in Infection Control Prevention and have been reminded of the importance of good principles in infection control and prevention.

Staff

Keeping our staff and patients safe is our number one priority at all times. All of our staff have been given instructions about how to look after themselves. Staff will be following government and hospital guidelines to reduce the risks of spreading the virus to patients.

Travel

GenesisCare is a global company and as such, we are restricting all international travel until further notice. Here in the UK, we are restricting all travel between centres unless it is essential to support clinical care. We are encouraging teams to use technology where possible to conduct meetings and discussions.

What you can do to help reduce the risk of viral spread

If you think you are risk of COVID -19

Do not enter the centre if:

  • you have travelled to an affected area in the last 14 days (please check website below for an up to date list)

OR

  • you have been exposed to another person with the virus

AND

  • you have a sore throat, a cough or a temperature.

If this applies to you, call 111 and follow the instructions. There is information about affected countries and areas on the government website listed at the bottom of this document.

Please notify a member of staff as soon as possible if any of your circumstances change.

If we become aware that you have been diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19, we may discuss with you about reporting to PHE.

Other sources of information

The information for the public about COVID-19 is changing all the time. Please visit the official Government website for up to date information and advice:

There is a government advisory page which can be accessed here on coronavirus information for health professionals on the NHS England website.