Study reveals impact of COVID-19 on oncology staff and their work

October 29, 2020

The results of a survey of 1038 doctors, nurses, pharmacists, administrators and allied health professionals (such dieticians and physiotherapists) working in oncology in the UK National Health Service (NHS) during the spring wave of COVID-19 will be presented at the NCRI Virtual Showcase.

The results of the COVID-NOW study show that 69% of oncology staff believe patients' access to 'standard of care treatment' (meaning the standard NHS treatment available) has been compromised as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and 94% of staff felt that 'patient management' (meaning treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy) had altered.

The study also found that while 66% felt able to do their job without compromising their personal safety, 42% of staff felt they were likely to be 'at risk' of poor wellbeing and 34% indicated signs of burnout. However, the majority said that they felt able to work well during this time and an average score of around 7 out of 10 was reported, where 10 indicates being able to work to their best.

The survey also uncovered the coping strategies staff use, with doctors tending to use planning and humour as strategies, whereas allied health professionals sought out emotional support and information from others. Staff were also asked how valued they felt by their organisation and by the public. Overall, 68% said they felt valued by the public and 66% said they felt valued in the workplace. On average, doctors felt the most valued by the UK public (79%) and their workplace (73%). Support services staff (such as research administration staff, health care assistants and phlebotomists) felt the least valued (47% felt valued by the public and 60% in the workplace).

The study will be presented at the NCRI Virtual Showcase by Dr Susana Banerjee, Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and Reader in Women's Cancers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK. She said: "As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire oncology community has been facing rapid changes to help ensure the safety of our cancer patients while maintaining their cancer care.

"Increasing our understanding of oncology professionals' experiences since COVID-19 is essential to making evidence-driven decisions on how best to help the oncology workforce and NHS organisations. The NHS and the global oncology community must work collaboratively to ensure that limited resources are used in the best way possible to support oncology staff and their patients."

The COVID-NOW study continues with further surveys planned as well as in-depth interviews to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 and how best to support oncology staff.

Dr Iain Frame, Chief Executive of NCRI, said: "This study gives us some important insights into how oncology staff were managing during the spring peak of COVID-19. As we see rates of the infection rise again around the world, it's crucial that we learn lessons to protect oncology staff and cancer patients and ensure patients get the best treatment now and in the coming months."

National Cancer Research Institute

Related Cancer Patients Articles from Brightsurf:

Higher risk of death in cancer patients with COVID-19 may be due to advanced age and more pre-existing conditions, rather than cancer itself
New research presented at this this week's ESCMID Conference on Coronavirus Diseases (ECCVID, online 23-25 September) suggests that the poor outcomes and higher death rates in cancer patients with COVID-19 could be due to them generally being older and having more underlying conditions, rather than due to the cancer itself.

The Lancet: Prostate cancer study finds molecular imaging could transform management of patients with aggressive cancer
Results from a randomised controlled trial involving 300 prostate cancer patients find that a molecular imaging technique is more accurate than conventional medical imaging and recommends the scans be introduced into routine clinical practice.

The art of cancer caregiving: How art therapies benefits those caring for cancer patients
A recent Drexel University study showed coloring and open-studio art therapy benefits stressed caregivers of cancer patients.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer tissue-freezing approach may help more breast cancer patients in lower income countries
A new reusable device created by the Johns Hopkins University can help women with breast cancer in lower income countries by using carbon dioxide, a widely available and affordable gas, to power a cancer tissue-freezing probe instead of industry-standard argon.

Lots of patients with cancer, cancer survivors use but don't report complementary/alternative medicine therapies
This study used data from a nationwide survey to estimate how many patients with cancer and cancer survivors use complementary and alternative medicines (CAMS) in addition to or instead of conventional therapies, and how many don't disclose that to their physicians.

Colorectal cancer in patients with early onset is distinct from that in older patients
New research indicates that colorectal cancer diagnosed at an early age has clinical and genetic features that are different from those seen in traditional colorectal cancer diagnosed later in life.

Comparable risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism between patients with unprovoked venous thromboembolism and patients with cancer
Patients with venous thromboembolism (VTE) carry a high risk of recurrence.

Personalized cancer vaccine may increase long-term survival in patients with deadly brain cancer
An international Phase III study led by researchers at UCLA has found that a personalized GBM vaccine may increase long-term survival in some patients.

Ovarian cancer drug shows promise in pancreatic cancer patients with BRCA mutation
A targeted therapy that has shown its power in fighting ovarian cancer in women including those with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations may also help patients with aggressive pancreatic cancer who harbor these mutations and have few or no other treatment options.

Read More: Cancer Patients News and Cancer Patients Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to