Hospital boss tells of cancer impact fears over lockdown

A hospital boss today spoke of his fear that the Covid pandemic may have prevented people with other serious illnesses from coming forward for treatment.

David Loughton
David Loughton

David Loughton warned that people across the region with the early stages of cancer may not have been seen by a doctor due to the impact of coronavirus.

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust chief spoke to the Express & Star on the anniversary of the first Covid death at New Cross Hospital.

He said the drastic recent reduction in Covid patients meant that he was now looking to restore services that were sidelined while medics were drafted in to deal with the pandemic.

And he said that while cancer and heart treatments had continued at throughout the crisis, he was concerned that some seriously ill people may have slipped through the net.

Mr Loughton said: "We have started to restore services, particularly cancer.

Impact

"We carried on throughout all of this with heart surgery and cancer, but my concern is there will be people who were ill that should have come forward but didn't go to their GPs and as a result were not seen.

"It is too early to be able to draw any conclusions, but we know that cancer stages go from one to four and the earlier you get treated the better the outcome.

"It will probably be another year before we are able to say what the full impact will be."

Mr Loughton, who said New Cross was now down to around 100 Covid patients, also revealed that the region was spared a "nightmare scenario" by record low levels of winter flu.

He said it became clear from events in the southern hemisphere in July that a new wave of Covid would hit Britain in the winter, raising the chances that intensive care units could become overrun with seriously ill patients.

"The nightmare scenario that nearly came to pass, was that it would hit us through the winter months when we were also having to deal with normal winter illnesses," Mr Loughton said.

"I was thinking, mix Covid up with flu and we're going to be in real trouble.

"Thank God there has been virtually no flu, and that is down to us all social distancing and washing our hands. It has helped to repress the flu to levels so low I haven't seen them before."

Mr Loughton said the second wave of the virus taken a huge toll on staff.

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