On this page:
Due to COVID-19, our service has made changes to how and where we practice. To view, click here.
For the latest advice regarding COVID-19 for cancer patients at St George’s, click here.
Advice for Haematology – Oncology Patients under the care of St George’s Hospital, Tooting during COVID-19 epidemic
COVID-19 is a viral infection caused by a newly emerged form of coronavirus particularly affecting the upper airways and lungs. Everyone in the population needs to be vigilant about minimising the risk of infection, monitoring for signs of infection and reducing risk of transmitting the infection to others. We are aware however that our patients may have particular concerns and needs.
The team here at St George’s Hospital are here to support you during this difficult and anxiety provoking time. Whilst it will be necessary to make some changes to the way we deliver care, we will be doing our best to continue your usual Haematology care as far as possible during the coming weeks to months. We are also here along with the rest of the hospital and community health teams to manage and support you if you have concerns related to COVID-19 and your blood disorder.
To help you keep up-to-date with the latest guidance from St George’s Hospital and nationally/internationally, please find some resources to refer to on this webpage.
General NHS Guidance for people with symptoms of COVID-19
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 infection are developing a new continuous cough and/or high fever.
Updated NHS guidance for the general population is found using the link below. Please consult this if you or one of your household members are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Blood cancers and disorders of the bone marrow can cause the immune system to be weakened. The exact effects of different blood disorders and their treatment on the risk of contracting COVID-19 infection or developing complications from it are not established. It is likely however that if your immune system is weak then you could be at a higher risk of becoming ill with COVID-19 infection.
Government guidelines were updated on Monday 23rd March to suggest that some patients should consider ‘shielding’ for 12 weeks depending on the medication regimen they are on. Details of this advice and further information describing and explaining shielding can be found here
Patients who fall into this category should receive a letter from NHSE. A copy of this letter is attached here. This is important as people considered to be vulnerable can register through the details in this letter to receive extra support as needed.
Haemato-oncology patients thought to be at particular risk are those who:
- People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
- People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer e.g. Rituximab, Obinutuzumab etc
- People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors: Ibrutinib, Imatinib, Idelalisib, Nivolumab etc
- People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
Other health conditions may also make you more vulnerable to complications from COVID-19 infection.
We are trying to contact patients who are affected by these new guidelines but please do call us and let us know if you think this includes yourself and you haven’t heard from us.
Lymphoma patient advice can be found here. This will be updated regularly as the government and patient support groups release further guidance.
Employment advice: What shall I do as an employer or employee? Particularly if I am being asked to support someone who is vulnerable according to the new shielding guidance.
If you are shielding and need to be able to discuss this with your employer the following links may be helpful
General Advice for Day Unit and Outpatient appointments
We are making efforts to limit hospital visits to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19 as much as possible especially for more vulnerable patients. In some cases we will therefore be contacting patients to make changes to their outpatient appointments. Where possible, we will be changing face-to-face consultations to telephone (or virtual) consultations (see below). It may also be necessary to defer some routine follow up or non-urgent appointments. It is reasonable to query with your individual team whether your hospital visit can be deferred or delivered by telephone.
For most patients on cancer treatment, this will continue for now, but there may be changes in the frequency, dosing or duration of treatment in order to minimise visits to hospital. This will be communicated to you via your normal clinic appointments or telephone.
Trevor Howell Day Unit, Ruth Myles Day Unit (for chemotherapy patients only) and AOCU have moved again from a temporary home in Maxillo-Facial department to a combined Day Unit based on Level 3, Lanesborough Wing (previous home of Trevor Howell Day Unit).
Day unit reviews for patients who have had a bone marrow transplant continue on the Ruth Myles Day Unit
Please do not attend the outpatient department or the day unit if you or anyone you have close contact with is unwell and in isolation with COVID-19 symptoms.
Instead please contact:
- Ruth Myles Haematology Day Unit : 0208 725 1680: for patients who have had a bone marrrow transplant.
- Chemotherapy Day Unit: 020 8725 0434/5886 : for all other haematology-oncology patients
Clinical Specialist Nurse
- Jo Murfett (Leukaemia)
Tel: 0208 725 0533, Tuesday-Friday 9am-5pm
- Mark Ragasa (Myeloma)
Tel: 0208 725 0533, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
- Jane Bowley and Michaela Mayhew (Transplant)
Tel: 0208 725 1680, Working hours: Monday-Friday 8am-5pm
- Beverley Wilson (Lymphoma)
Tel: 0208 725 4953, Working hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
Haematology Secretaries to inform us of the situation so we can support you and advise you about rearranging your appointment.
- For Drs Willis/Reyal/Vatopoulou/Klammer/Koh
Secretary: Paul Hutton, Paul.Hutton@stgeorges.nhs.uk , 020 8725 1172
- For Drs Pettengell/Peng
Secretary: OncologySecretaries@stgeorges.nhs.uk , 0208 725 3233
Many of our staff are now working in areas along side their original roles and in different ways. We aim to check messages and emails at least once a day and to return your call or email as soon as possible.
If medical emergency please call 999
If you are unwell please also see the advice below relating to seeking appropriate medical help and advice.
Guidance for patients who are immunosuppressed, or may be neutropenic and feeling unwell
This advice is particularly relevant for the following patients
- Patients on current anti-cancer therapy or chemotherapy
- Patients who have had a recent bone marrow transplant (within the last 6 months)
- Patients who have had a bone marrow transplant and are on immunosuppressive medication, e.g. ciclosporin
- Patients who have been warned by their haematology team to attend hospital urgently if they develop a fever >38oC or feel unwell
Please click here for what to do if you are feeling unwell
Telephone (or ‘virtual’) clinic appointments
During the coronavirus pandemic the NHS is needing to adapt very quickly in order to stop the spread of the virus. As part of this effort, and in order to reduce the risk to you and medical staff you may be offered a telephone clinic appointment, where a member of the haematology team will contact you at home. Please see below the following guidance for these telephone clinic appointments:
- You should receive blood forms for blood tests ahead of your appointment in the post if these are required.
- Please have these blood tests done preferably at The Nelson Medical Practice, Queen Mary’s Hospital Roehampton, your GP practice (if samples are processed at Croydon University Hospital, Kingston Hospital, St George’s Hospital). Otherwise please attend St George’s Hospital phlebotomy department or Haematology Oncology Outpatients (HOOP)
- The phone call will last approximately 10-15 minutes. Please be aware that the phone calls from the hospital appear as a private number so if you are called from a private number around the time of your appointment please answer. Please also ensure there is no block on your phone for ‘No caller ID’ calls.
- Please be available for 30 minutes either side of your appointment
- We will try and call you 3 times. If you do not answer after 3 attempts we will have to defer your appointment.
- If you are not sure that we have accurate contact information for you then please contact our secretaries to update this.
- Please find a place where you are happy to talk about your medical condition.
- During the consultation, we will aim to tell you if your next appointment will be a telephone/virtual consultation or face-to-face.
- We will send you the details of your next appointment and any blood forms for this appointment to you in the post.
Useful web-based resources
A number of resources are available providing specific and more detailed information and guidance. We have tried to compile some of these below.
Bloodwise Charity: Coronavirus and blood cancer
Macmillan Cancer Support: Cancer and coronavirus
Cancer charities: One Cancer Voice Guidance
MyelomaUK: COVID-19 Information Hub
Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) including essential thrombocythaemia (ET), polycythaemia vera (PV) and myelofibrosis
MPN Voice: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice and Information
Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML)
Myelodysplasia / myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)
MDS Foundation: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and MDS
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL)
CLL Support: Lastest advice on COVID-19
Bone marrow Transplant
Anthony Nolan: Coronavirus and your stem cell transplant
Relevant contact details
Within working hours:
Clinical Nurse Specialists
- Jo Murfett (Leukaemia)
- Email: joanne.Murfett@stgeorges.nhs.uk
- Tel: 0208 725 0533, Tuesday-Friday 9am-5pm
- Mark Ragasa (Myeloma)
- Email: MarkAnthony.Ragasa@stgeorges.nhs.uk
- Tel: 0208 725 0533, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
- Jane Bowley and Michaela Mayhew (Transplant)
- Beverley Wilson (Lymphoma)
- Email: Beverley.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tel: 0208 725 4953, Working hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
Ruth Myles Day Unit: 0208 725 1680, Working hours: Monday-Friday 9am-6pm
Chemotherapy Day Unit: 0208 725 0434/5886, Working hours: Monday-Friday 9am-6pm
Acute Oncology Service (available to Lymphoma patients under Drs Pettengell/Peng): 0783 114 7653, Working hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. AOCU Reception: 0208 725 0423
Outside of working hours:
Haematology Registrar On-call (available via switch board, 0208 672 1255)
Haematological cancers are cancers of the blood and lymphatic system. These include leukaemias, lymphomas and myeloma.
The Haematology-Oncology Unit offers a comprehensive diagnostic and treatment service for patients with a wide variety of blood cancers; this includes bone marrow transplantation. The Lymphoma clinic also offers a one-stop referral pathway for the diagnosis of lymphoma.
There is a robust research portfolio which gives our patients access to innovative treatments.
We provide a number of clinical services including:
Acute Leukaemia Service
Dr Matthias Klammer , Dr Mickey Koh, Dr Fenella Willis, Dr Yasmin Reyal; Dr Theodora Vatopoulou
CNS: Joanne Murfett
Myeloid Malignancies Service
Dr Yasmin Reyal, Dr Matthias Klammer, Dr Mickey Koh, Dr Fenella Willis, Dr Theodora Vatopoulou
CNS: Joanne Murfett
Dr Ruth Pettengell, Dr Ying Ying Peng
CNS: Beverley Wilson
Myeloma and Plasma Cell Dyscrasia Service
Dr Fenella Willis, Dr Yasmin Reyal, Dr Theodora Vatopoulou
CNS: Mark Ragasa
Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Service
Dr Mickey Koh; Dr Matthias Klammer; Dr Dara Qadir
CNS: Michaela Mayhew; Jane Bowley
Teenage and Young Adult Cancer (TYAC) Service
Dr Ruth Pettengell
CNS: Claire Fowler
Haematology and Oncology Outpatients, Ground Floor , St James Wing, St George’s Hospital
Cancer Nurse Specialists:
Jane Bowley: 0208 725 4826
Claire Fowler: 0208 725 0054
Michaela Mayhew: 0208 725 4826
Joanne Murfett: 0208 725 0533
Mark Ragasa: 0208 725 0533
Beverley Wilson: 0208 725 4953
St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is a tertiary referral centre for the management of haematological cancers. Each treatment plan will be individually tailored, but may include chemotherapy, antibody therapy and radiotherapy.
We are a BCSH level 3 centre, providing chemotherapy services to adults, including high dose chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation. The BMT service is JACIE accredited and has particular expertise in transplantation in non-malignant conditions.
In-patient treatment is delivered on Ruth Myles Ward, Gordon Smith Ward and Trevor Howell Ward. Out-patient treatment is delivered on the Ruth Myles Day Unit and Trevor Howell Day Unit. The Apheresis Unit is located on Gordon Smith Ward, and has the capacity to provide an emergency out-of-hours service. There is also an Ambulatory Oncology Care Unit (AOCU) located on Gordon Smith Ward for patients requiring urgent assessment, monitoring or treatment for problems related to their cancer or cancer treatment. Ruth Myles Haematology Day Care Unit is a nurse-led unit. The highly specialised nursing team has unique expertise in providing supportive care and chemotherapy to patients with haematological malignancies or bone marrow failure, and managing bone marrow transplant patients.
The Lymphoma Unit takes regional referrals and manages and treats complex and rare lymphomas, in particular T cell lymphoma. St George’s provides a regional service for patients with HIV related lymphoma and Kaposi’s Sarcoma. Patients are jointly reviewed by the lymphoma team and HIV specialist and there are shared care arrangements with the clinical infection unit for inpatients. Patients requiring bone marrow transplantation can be managed and supported by the same team throughout their entire pathway.
We run a number of patient-centred nurse-led clinics for lymphoma long term follow up, late effects monitoring, oral chemotherapy and telephone consultations.
The Myeloma Service was selected for the Myeloma UK Clinical Service Excellence Programme in 2019, recognizing best practice in myeloma. We manage patients with AL amyloid in close liaison with the National Amyloid Centre.
The unit benefits from a full range of specialist supporting services including specialist surgery, spinal surgery, cardiology, specialist dentistry, cancer psychology, medical and critical care facilities. We also provide complementary therapies via the Full Circle charity to patients and carers.
The haematological team includes haematologists, medical oncologists, clinical oncologists, clinical nurse specialists, radiologists and histopathologists.
Referrals can be made via the following method:
Email Suspected Cancer Referral via
ERS ONLY ON PAN LONDON FORMS
TWR Office contact details:
T: 020 8725 1111