‘COVID-19 free’ hospital areas could save an estimated 460 lives in Yorkshire

07 October 2020

A global study supported by Yorkshire Cancer Research has found that ‘COVID-19 free’ hospital areas for surgical patients could save lives during the second wave of the pandemic.

Millions of patients around the world have had their surgery delayed because of the coronavirus.

Patients having surgery can be more at risk of becoming seriously unwell if they contract COVID-19.

Led by researchers at the University of Birmingham, the COVIDSurg evaluation study examined data from 9171 patients in 55 countries.

John Edwards, Consultant Thoracic Surgeon at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, led the lung cancer part of the study and championed Yorkshire’s contribution to the research.

Funding from Yorkshire Cancer Research helped coordinate the involvement of hospitals in the region and analyse the data collected.

The study found that patients who had their operation and hospital care in COVID-19 free areas had better outcomes.

The research showed that these areas can be set-up to allow surgery to proceed safely, even when community infection rates are high.

Mr Edwards said:

“The COVIDSurg study has been critically important to our understanding of how to deliver safe surgical services."

"It confirms that the processes that hospitals have already put in place are appropriate, so patients and their families can proceed with surgery in confidence.”

An estimated 364,000 operations take place in Yorkshire each year, of which around 42,600 are for removal of a cancer.

Setting up COVID-19 free hospital areas could prevent 460 unnecessary COVID-related deaths after cancer surgery in Yorkshire alone over the next year.

More information about the study can be found in the full story on the University of Birmingham’s website.

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