The impact of COVID-19 on systemic anticancer treatment delivery in Scotland

Mark. A. Baxter, John Murphy, David Cameron, Judith Jordan, Christine Crearie, Christina Lilley, Azmat Sadoyze, Mary Maclean, Peter Hall, Angela Phillips, Alex Greger, Jude Madeleine, Russell D. Petty (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
111 Downloads (Pure)


Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on systemic anticancer therapy delivery (SACT) is crucial to appreciate the short- and long-term consequences for cancer patients and plan future care. Here, we report real-time national SACT delivery data from NHS Scotland. We demonstrate an initial rapid reduction in patient attendance of 28.7% with subsequent rapid recovery following service redesign. The smallest decrease was seen in breast cancer (19.7%), which also had the most rapid recovery and the largest decrease seen in colorectal cancer (43.4%). Regional variation in the magnitude of impact on SACT delivery was observed, but nadirs occurred at the same time and the rate of recovery was similar across all regions. This recovery reflected a coordinated national approach and associated patient and clinician support structures, which facilitated the creation of COVID-19-protected areas for SACT delivery in Scottish cancer centres enabling rapid sharing of successful and innovative strategies. The data show that these actions have limited the disadvantage to cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1353-1356
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Early online date2 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2021


  • Cancer
  • 2019-nCoV
  • Systemic anti-cancer therapy
  • Service delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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