UK Clinician Information: Coronavirus update

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 ensure patient 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 here 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

Information from the government

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