Maintaining patient safety is a priority and changes may be necessary as the situation evolves. For example, your specialist teams may encourage phone consultation rather than seeing you in person, to minimise any risk to you.
Stay up to date with the latest guidance:
We appreciate this is a difficult time so if you have any concerns, please speak to the nurse in charge on the day of your appointment.
Most people make a full recovery after cancer treatment and their immune system either recovers fully or is not affected. But the type of cancer and the treatment you have had may increase your risk from coronavirus.
If you are taking hormone tablets or injections for cancer, you are at no more risk of contracting coronavirus. You should continue your medication and take the appropriate hand washing measures.
For information for pregnant women see Maternity services post coronavirus pandemic >
If you have symptoms of coronavirus, we advise that the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breast milk.
However, you should take the following precautions:
Whatever method of feeding, consider asking someone who is well to feed your baby. If you are breastfeeding, you can express your milk so someone else can bottle feed.
If you notice that your baby is not moving or the movements have changed or reduced, you still need to call the hospital you are booked to give birth at immediately. Even if you think you may have Covid-19 symptoms you must contact the hospital and we will arrange for you to be seen in an isolation area to check you and your baby are healthy. Do not wait for your next midwife appointment.
If you develop symptoms of coronavirus, you should call NHS 111 and follow national coronavirus guidance (opens in new window) >.
You should continue your immunosuppressive medication, including steroids, unless instructed otherwise by your clinician.
If you stop taking your medication, it could cause a flare up of your condition which could increase your risk of complications if you get coronavirus.
It is advisable to avoid using anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen, to treat symptoms of possible coronavirus. If you have been taking these types of medications to treat a long term condition, there is no need to stop them if you remain well.
Your immunosuppressive treatment will continue, even if you are practicing social distancing, including:
If you have viral symptoms, such as a continuous cough or high temperature, please contact NHS 111.
In cases where an infection of any kind is confirmed, it may be necessary to stop your immunosuppressive treatment for a time.
If you or your child continue to be at high risk from COVID-19, there are extra steps you can take to help reduce your risk of getting COVID-19 > and keep yourself safe.
The doctors and nurses at UHDB strongly recommend that all patients are fully vaccinated if at all possible.
Many medications used by Rheumatology to treat inflammatory conditions dampen down the immune system. This is called immunosuppressant treatment. If a Rheumatology patient is on immunosuppressant treatment then they will benefit from extra doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. The latest extra dose is called the "Spring Booster". This can be booked online or by ringing 119. Rheumatology patients do not need a letter to book this but it is essential that they take evidence that they are on immunosuppressant medication when they attend for the vaccine.
Sulfasalazine, hydroxychloroquine, allopurinol and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen are not immunosuppressants. If you are not sure if you are eligible then speak to your GP, pharmacist or Rheumatology advice service.
The NHS is using new treatments for coronavirus in people who are considered at risk from severe Covid-19, such as those on strong immunosuppressant treatment. You might be suitable for these treatments if a PCR or lateral flow test confirms that you have coronavirus. These treatments need to be given quickly after you start to feel unwell. They can help to stop you from getting seriously ill from coronavirus.
To save time, make sure you have a PCR and lateral flow kit ready at home. Use both if you think you might have Covid-19 (even if mild).
If the lateral flow test is positive you must submit the result via the NHS website (opens in new window) > or phone 119, otherwise the NHS will not know if you have tested positive and you may not be able to access treatment. If either tests are positive, ring your GP or 111 so that you can be assessed for the treatment.
Unless we have contacted you to cancel or rearrange your appointment, please attend as planned. Where possible, we may be able to offer you a phone call or digital appointment instead. If this is the case, we will let you know by phone or by post in advance.
You must not attend your appointment if you should be self-isolating because you, or somebody close to you, has, or has had, symptoms.
You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you are staying at home. Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to: