Publish date: 09 April 2020

UCLH is managing one of the three cancer hubs across London, so that during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic cancer surgery is available for patients with the most immediate needs.

Working in collaboration with cancer consultants from seven hospitals in north central and north east London and the local Cancer Alliances, UCLH has established a system of weekly prioritisation meetings to allow those local patients most in need to get the care they require.

While hospitals, including UCLH, have reorganised their services to care for COVID-19 patients, arrangements have been made for dedicated cancer surgery locations. Patients can be treated in a safe and timely manner, where the risk of COVID-19 infection can be minimised. Staff at these centres will be focused on cancer care and other conditions, and will not be caring for COVID-19 patients.

The cancer hub for north central and north east London is using sites at UCLH at Westmoreland Street Hospital, and independent sector facilities at Princess Grace Hospital and Wellington Hospital.

The UCLH National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queen Square can also support other London centres if additional capacity is needed for patients requiring immediate brain tumour surgery.

 “In the NHS we are extremely busy managing the impact of COVID-19, but care for other patients must continue, particularly when timely treatment makes all the difference,” says Geoff Bellingan, UCLH medical director for surgery and cancer.

“We can achieve this through the cancer hub which allows us to check which patients need operations and create weekly surgery lists in a way that’s fair to all, no matter where you live in north and east London. Through the hub we can also track the health of cancer patients who are not due for surgery and regularly assess staffing levels and bed availability so that resources are well used.”

Patients will continue to have appointments with their usual cancer team but arrangements for where they have surgery will change due to the current circumstances.

The London cancer hubs

  • North central London and north east London led by University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • South west and north west London led by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
  • South east London led by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Statement from NHS England and NHS Improvement London