Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, The London Clinic has provided a variety of cancer services and treatments for NHS patients, including robotic prostatectomies, using the new da Vinci Xi robot; and urgent surgeries in adrenal, hepato-pancreato-biliary (HPB), colorectal and gynaecological cancer.
This collaboration between the NHS and The London Clinic, a first of its kind, began in March 2020 to enable NHS cancer patients in London to continue receiving the vital care and treatment they need.
The pandemic has placed immense pressure on the NHS as patients with COVID-19 required specialist, hospital-based care.
This partnership set out to ensure patients could still access the services and treatments they need, while creating much-needed extra capacity for the NHS.
One year on, the approach has been deemed hugely successful for both the patients and the clinical staff involved.
Leonie Lonton, an NHS patient receiving treatment at The London Clinic (pictured), said: “It wasn’t a good time to find out during COVID-19 that something was wrong.
"What I wanted was treatment and I’m delighted to say that I have been able to receive this at The London Clinic, with really fantastic people looking after me.
“Teams from the NHS and The London Clinic are working so collaboratively – it’s very reassuring and the care is second to none.”
Dr James Dilley, Sub-specialty fellow in Gynaecology Oncology Barts and the Royal London, added: “This sort of collaboration we haven’t seen before and the work that must have gone on to facilitate it is huge and great efforts from both sides.”
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, NHS North East London and The London Clinic are working to ensure people have ongoing access to cancer care in a safe environment.
Many patients may have been hesitant to seek medical help due to the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and concern about putting pressure on the NHS. However, it is imperative that people come forward to receive medical help.
Satya Bhattacharya, Medical Director at The London Clinic, said: “One of the biggest consequences of the pandemic, with the entire health service under immense pressure, is the impact on NHS waiting lists.
“The London Clinic is pleased to be able to alleviate some of that pressure by supporting our colleagues at hospitals including the Royal London to carry out a broad spectrum of complex treatments, such as for gynaecological cancers.
"We have put our facilities, including our custom-built cancer wing and intensive care unit, at the disposal of the NHS, and will continue to find ways to help them where we can.”
Meanwhile, to further reassure patients about coming forward to receive medical help, the NHS and The London Clinic have collaborated to produce a new film, which can be viewed here.
Anyone experiencing the signs of cancer is being urged not to delay seeking medical help and get any concerns checked out. Diagnosing cancer early makes it easier to treat. People with any concerns should contact their GP immediately.