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Key Messages from Regional Covid-19 Special Meeting held on 25 March 2020 

The following Key Messages from last Wednesday’s Special Covid-19 contingency planning meeting are provided for your information. Please circulate to your colleagues: 

  1. Clinical representatives from the 4 DHBs met by Zoom to review the current status of Covid-19 contingency planning for HNC patient care at each of the 4 DHBs.

  2.  The key action from the meeting is for Barb Cox to convene a regional group to establish a truly regional HNC service delivery model for at least the next 3 - 6 months. The group to consider patient and staff deployment across the region.

  3. The MDM is changing from last Friday to not having patients attend. Streaming of video recorded endoscopies carried out at the local DHB will be presented using Zoom. This process has been tested and works well. 
  1. Most DHBs have completed or are in the process of completing a review of all HNC FSA referrals based on Faster Cancer Treatment guidelines supplemented by clinical information/pictures etc from referring clinicians to prioritise FSAs based on potential risk of cancer and severity.

  2. Issues related to access to Personal Protective Equipment for HNC surgery and preoperative Covid-19 testing are being worked through with the regional IMT.

  3. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy remain available. 

  4. PET providers have confirmed service will remain available. 
  1. Domain Lodge will remain open and transport arrangements will still be available for patients needing to travel. 
  1. We have heard from patients that they are concerned about their on-going care; therefore a message of reassurance will be drafted and sent to all patients by the CNSs. 
  1. The following activities are happening in parallel with this regional HNC approach: 
  • In addition to guidance from the National Cancer Agency and Ministry of Health, national, regional and DHB Incident Management Teams (IMTs) have been established to ensure consistency. No clinical decisions are being taken outside of this structure. 
  • All low priority elective surgery has been cancelled across the region. 
  • Jo Brown and Arend Merrie are leading a regional IMT stream liaising with Private Hospitals about potential capacity when required – this will also be considered for HNC surgery as part of 2 above.

Diana Ayling