The situation is changing daily, as are updates from the Government. You can find out the latest Government advice by regularly checking in on www.gov.uk or here.

LATEST ON SHIELDING

Government’s guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19, setting out advice on when and how those who are shielding can leave their homes, can be found - here.

The update has been made as part of the Government’s wider relaxation of ‘lockdown’ and its assessment that COVID-19 disease levels are “substantially lower” now than when shielding was introduced.

FINANCIAL HELP

There is some financial support available to stem cell transplant patients from Anthony Nolan, who as part of their Grants service, are now making emergency funds available to help cover the cost of coronavirus.

COVID Emergency Patient Fund

  • Have you had to stop working to protect yourself from coronavirus?
  • Or are you spending more on food, technology or cleaning products while ‘shielding’ in isolation?
  • Do you have to pay more to travel further for your follow-up appointments during the pandemic?

One-off grants of up to £250 are now available to stem cell transplant patients for expenses which have a direct link to coronavirus.

Applying is easy: complete an online form and email it back to Anthony Nolan, including the contact details of a healthcare professional from your transplant team.

Find out whether you’re eligible and apply here: www.anthonynolan.org/grants

If you’d like further info about the COVID Emergency Patient Fund, email AN at [email protected] or call on 0303 303 0303.

SUPPORT IF YOU'RE SHIELDING

750,000 volunteers have volunteered to take part in the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme - to help the most vulnerable.
The volunteers can help with tasks such as collecting shopping and prescribed medicines or driving patients to medical appointments.
This service is available for people who are at high risk from coronavirus where no local support is available, for example: if they have been asked to self-isolate and ‘shield’; if they are over 70 and have underlying health conditions; or if they are self-isolating and you consider them to be especially vulnerable.
We are being encouraged to increase these referrals. So if you need help - please get in touch - [email protected]. As a referring organisation, we'll need your contact details, address and details on the type of support you need.

ADVICE

  • The latest guidance document produced by NICE for children and young people who are immunocompromised, published on 1 May 2020 - here
  • The latest advice from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on stem cell transplantation, 1.4.2020 - here
  • Advice from King's College Hospital Heamatology Team for aplastic anaemia patients, 27.3.2020 - here.
  • Advice for children and young people with haematology and oncology diagnoses at Great Ormond Street Hospital - here.
  • Advice for patients (transplant and CAR T) from Department of Clinical Haematology, King's College Hospital - here.
  • The latest advice from Public Health England for shielding the most vulnerable - here.

MENTAL WELL-BEING

  • A compilation of helpful free online resources to help you cope with the Coronavirus crisis, as recommended by the team of psychologists in the Department of Haematology, King's College Hospital, London - here.

The latest advice for Bone Marrow Transplant Patients:

  • The latest guidance from the UK/Ireland Paediatric BMT Group: GUIDELINES FOR COVID19 IN PAED HSCT PATIENTS is available here
  • The latest guidance from the British Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy for BMT adult patients is available here

Earlier advice 

In response to the Coronavirus virus outbreak, the One Cancer Voice group of charities, which the AAT is a part of, and the EBMT group (European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation) have a developed some helpful guidance for people with cancer and those with a suppressed immune system.

Whilst aplastic anaemia is not a cancer, patients undergoing treatment will have weakened immune systems, therefore we feel the guidance is relevant.

You can access the guidance, presented in FAQ format - here. We will continue to add additional information as this becomes available. 

We understand that the NHS has conducted extensive work on supply chains to ensure a secure supply of necessary drugs and other requirements such as the radionuclides used in some imaging tests.

Some people with cancer or with a weakened immune system are more at risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract the COVID-19 infection (commonly known as the Coronavirus), including:

• People having chemotherapy, or who have received chemotherapy in the last 3 months
• People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
• People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors
• People having intensive (radical) radiotherapy for lung cancer
• People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
• People with some types of blood cancer which damage the immune system, even if they have not needed treatment (for example, chronic leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma).

Cancer treatment providers may also seek to minimise the time people in these groups spend in hospital departments, for example by enabling them to consult their hospital teams by telephone, and having blood tests done at GP surgeries or at home where this is possible.

For more information about COVID-19 and how to reduce the risk of infection people should consult the NHS website.