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Wolfson Institute of Population Health

Impact of multiple COVID-19 waves on UK gynaecological cancer services

A WIPH-led study published in Cancers assesses responses to surveys of staff in UK cancer hospitals after the 2020, 2021 and 2022 Covid waves, and quantifies the impact of multiple COVID-19 waves on UK-wide gynaecological cancer service provision.


The surveys, sent to British Gynaecological Cancer Society members, showed that during the first COVID wave, urgent referrals fell by 50%, 49% of hospitals reported reduced staffing, theatre capacity was reduced by 40%, 30% of planned operations were postponed, and 75% of outpatient consultations were remote. By the second wave there was a return to pre-pandemic urgent referral levels, fewer hospitals reported staffing reductions, and theatre capacity was reduced by 10%, with 5% of operations postponed. The third wave showed worsening staff reductions, similar to the first wave, but pre-pandemic levels of urgent referrals/workload continued, with little reduction in surgical capacity.

Lead author Ranjit Manchanda said: “While referrals and workloads have normalised, staff shortages and therefore capacity constraints remain, making it extremely difficult to manage the workload comprising the backlog/recovery from COVID, coupled with the ongoing workload in gynaecological oncology. These constraints require urgent redress to enable provision of care for women with gynaecological cancers.”

Oxley S, Kalra A, Sideris M, Itzkowitz N, Evans O, Atakpa EC, Brentnall AR, Dworschak N, Gaba F, Gabe R, Sundar S, Wood N, Nicum S, Taylor A, Dobbs S, McCluggage WG, Nordin A, Legood R, Kehoe S, Ghaem-Maghami S, Manchanda R. Impact of Multiple COVID-19 Waves on Gynaecological Cancer Services in the UK. Cancers. 2023; 15(4):1273.



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