DATA-CAN COVID-19 research data quoted in IPPR and CF Healthcare Consulting report
Research data from DATA-CAN: The Health Data Research Hub for Cancer on the impact of COVID-19 on cancer services and cancer patients has been quoted in a new report from the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) and CF Healthcare Consulting.
The analysis by the IPPR and CF utilised data from DATA-CAN and other sources to look at the impact of the pandemic and the disruption of services on patients with cancer. Their report highlights that during the pandemic:
- Screening across the UK essentially stopped during the lockdown, meaning that 210,000 people per week missed being screened
- Urgent GP referrals for diagnostics – formally known as the two-week wait or red flag referrals – are down by over 40 per cent
- Diagnostic testing, including through CT and MRI scans and endoscopy, is down by between 28 and 76 per cent
- Treatments including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are down by between 10 and 40 per cent.
During the COVID-19 emergency, DATA-CAN researchers collected near real-time data from major cancer centres and hospitals in the UK so that they could analyse the effect of the pandemic on cancer services and cancer patients in the UK as it was happening. As the IPPR/CF report states:
‘DATA-CAN has exemplified how, with access to real-time data from selected hospital sites, quick and highly relevant analyses can be conducted which both initially highlighted the challenge of COVID-19 to cancer services but also showed how this real time data can be used to plan for recovery. These efforts should be expanded and upscaled across the UK.‘
Professor Mark Lawler, DATA-CAN’s scientific lead and Professor of Digital Health at Queen’s University Belfast, said,
‘DATA-CAN: The UK’s Health Data Research Hub for Cancer has been able to closely track the effect of COVID-19 on cancer services throughout the pandemic by collecting near real-time data from the NHS – initially from when we went into lockdown to the restarting of cancer services. Thus, we’ve highlighted both the problem and the potential way forward post lockdown. We’ve seen a positive recovery of cancer referrals and chemotherapy appointments, but we’re still not back to pre-COVID-19 levels. In order to develop robust, sustainable solutions, I would suggest we need to get to greater than pre-COVID 19 levels to really get cancer services back on track.
‘We were pleased to be quoted in this important report by the IPPR and CF and by developing our near real-time data network across the UK, DATA-CAN will continue to use health data and robust intelligence to improve services and help mitigate the worst outcomes for cancer patients.’
Read the IPPR and CF Healthcare Consulting report here.