Chemo treatments to continue at Honiton Hospital but support services halt as cancer charity protects patients during coronavirus crisis

Force Cancer Charity reviewing its services during the coronavirus pandemic said weekly chemotherapy treatments at Honiton Hospital will continue ‘for the moment’.

The charity today (Tuesday) announced the immediate halt of its face-to-face support services at Force’s weekly outreach centre in Honiton.

And Force Cancer Charity has announced the temporary closure of its support and information centre in Exeter.

The charity said it will offer telephone and video call support to local people affected by cancer.

Cancer patients undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment may be among those at particular risk from coronavirus, the charity said.

A Force Cancer Charity spokesperson said: “All support services at Force’s weekly outreach centre in Honiton will also stop with immediate effect but for the moment, chemotherapy treatment will continue as normal at Honiton Hospital on Fridays.

“The charity will offer telephone and video call support to local people affected by cancer.”

The charity said its decision to close its support centre in the grounds of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital was taken after consultation with clinical staff at the RD&E.

It follows the first reported cases of coronavirus at the hospital.

All support services at Force’s other outreach centres in Okehampton and Tiverton will also stop but chemotherapy will continue there too for now, the Force spokesperson said.

A message on the Force Cancer Charity website says:

‘It is with great regret that Force Cancer Charity has decided to temporarily close its support and information centre in Exeter with immediate effect.

‘We will still be offering support and information on the phone and via video calling but there will be no face to face appointments or groups until further notice.

‘The decision was taken following the announcement of the first cases of Coronavirus/Covid19 being treated at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and after consultation with clinical staff at the RD&E Trust.

‘We recognise that this may cause significant upset to our users, but we feel it is the only responsible action at this time.

‘The Force support and information centre is a non-clinical environment and not a priority service in times of acute pressure.

‘The risk of transmission of coronavirus is too high for the group of people we support.

‘Staff will continue to work from our support and information centre unless they need to self-isolate because of symptoms.

‘We will be offering counselling and information services on the telephone and please check our website over the coming weeks to see what we can do to help support people.

‘Anyone with appointments or those booked on to courses are being contacted to explain the situation.’

 

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