Community pharmacy teams are among the health workers who have delivered chemotherapy drugs to cancer patients in their homes during the Covid-19 crisis, NHS England & Improvement has said.
In an August 17 statement, NHSE&I said that up to 10,000 chemotherapy home deliveries were made over three months at the peak of the crisis in order to ensure cancer patients received their medicines while reducing their risk of contracting Covid-19.
As well as pharmacy teams, community nurses and volunteers have been among those making the drop-offs, during which social distancing has been maintained.
The south London trust of Guys and St Thomas has seen up to 500 deliveries each month, while Dudley saw a 46 per cent increase in chemotherapy deliveries during the pandemic.
NHSE&I is spending a reported £160m on drugs “that mean patients do not have to go to hospitals for regular checks and treatment”.
Dame Cally Palmer, director of cancer for the NHS in England, said: “NHS staff have treated more than 108,000 patients requiring specialist hospital care for Covid-19 while also keeping other vital services such as cancer, maternity and A&E running throughout the pandemic.
“The NHS has also fast tracked modern, more convenient services that help to keep patients and staff safe – from video consultations to chemotherapy delivered to patients’ doors – that have allowed 85,000 people to start cancer treatment during the pandemic.”