On this page:

For Malignant Haematology services please see the Haematological Cancer page – this is for patients with lymphoma, myeloma, waldenstrom’s macroglobulinaemia and all types of acute and chronic leukaemia

Advice for Haematology 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 Haematology patients may have particular concerns and needs.

The Haematology 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.

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/

Shielding – Advice and Explanation

There is also NHS guidance for people considered particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. These patients are asked to undertake ‘shielding’ which is described below

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

For patients who feel they fall into one of the vulnerable categories described in the link above but have not heard from NHSEngland or from their clinical teams please do let your teams know for further advice.

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

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note

We have put together specific guidance for our different patient groups below so please also refer to this advice. These can be viewed on their individual websites connected to this page – please do look at these pages

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 consultations.  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 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

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 the Haematology Day Unit, your Haematology Clinical Specialist Nurse or the Haematology Secretaries (contact numbers below) to inform us of the situation so can support you and advise you about rearranging your appointment.

Virtual or Telephone Clinics 

During the coronavirus pandemic the NHS is having 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;

  • 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 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.
  • If you need blood tests then the blood test request labels will be sent to you and if you need medications following the appointment then we will arrange it so these can be collected in the community. We will let you know where blood tests can be done.

Your health remains our priority and we will continue to provide the best care possible during this difficult time

Contact Details 

Haematology Day Unit: 0208 725 1680,  (Monday – Friday 9-5)

Haematology Secretary: 0208 725 0885 (Monday – Friday 9-5)

 

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Haematology services at St George’s Hospital are now part of South West London Pathology which is a partnership set up by Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to provide a single, integrated pathology service across South West London and beyond.

For more information about South West London Pathology visit the website www.swlpath.nhs.uk

Haematology and blood transfusion offer a comprehensive service to Trust hospitals and all other purchasers including GPs. There are five service laboratories which provide routine full blood counts and blood transfusion services 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

  • Diagnostic haematology performs full blood counts and related tests to aid diagnosis and treatment of blood cell and platelet disorders. Additional tests are carried to identify specific disorders e.g. infectious mononucleosis and immune cytopenias. Bone marrow aspirates are performed and reported. Disorders of blood production e.g. leukaemia, myeloproliferative diseases, are diagnosed referred to specialist haematologists for treatment including bone marrow transplant. There is an internationally renowned Aplastic Anaemia Service.
  • Haemostasis performs coagulation screens pre-operatively and to investigate abnormal bleeding and initiates, monitors and controls anticoagulant therapy. There is a regional service for diagnosis and management of haemophilia and thrombophilia.
  • Blood Transfusion stores and provides blood products on completion of appropriate pre-transfusion testing. Ante-natal anti D is issued in line with current guidelines. Hospital staff training in blood transfusion is co-ordinated and supervised.
  • Leukaemia Diagnosis provides the regional service for diagnosis of leukaemia, lymphoma and immune monitoring using a number of specialist techniques.
  • Haemoglobinopathy Screening identifies disorders of haemoglobin production e.g. sickle-cell disease and thalassemia. Ante-natal testing to identify those at risk of severe genetic disease is carried out and referral made for counselling as appropriate.

For blood transfusion alternatives please refer to our leaflet Blood transfusion alternatives for Jehovah’s witnesses

Leaflets