HUNDREDS of Southampton cancer patients will still be able to receive treatment thanks to a new agreement between two hospitals during the coronavirus crisis.

A "landmark" agreement between University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) and Spire Healthcare is enabling hundreds of patients with cancer to receive urgent treatment at Spire’s Southampton hospital, allowing UHS to focus on caring for people with COVID-19.

Spire Southampton has been working with staff at UHS to transfer Oncology and Haematology services to Spire.

Since mid-March, more than 850 NHS cancer patients have been treated at the hospital, and around 100 patients are now receiving care every day.

Patients with particular cancers - Gynaecological; Neurological; Ear, Nose and Throat; Gastrointestinal / colorectal; and Urology - are receiving urgent surgery with the intention of providing a coronavirus-free environment at Spire Southampton.

Paul Grundy, consultant neurosurgeon and acting medical director at UHS, said: “It became very apparent early on we would not be able to deliver all of the urgent procedures patients required at a time when we were building up to high volumes of patients with the COVID-19 infection.

“We’ve been very fortunate in Southampton that we have excellent relationships with our independent sector partners including Spire and that has seen them work very dynamically with us to enable new surgical lists and services at different sites in different locations very quickly.

“With Spire in particular we have been very lucky in that they have been able to deliver surgery of high degrees of complexity with six theatres running at this site alone and, without that support, we would not have been able to provide really important clinical work through this challenging period.”

Spire Southampton is supporting time-critical Cardiac and Lung surgery for NHS patients.

The partnership between Spire Healthcare and UHS has been made possible under a national agreement, which Spire, alongside the whole of the independent sector, has signed to make its staff, equipment and facilities available to the NHS at cost only to help alleviate the pressure caused by the pandemic.

Fiona Taylor, Hospital Director at Spire Healthcare, said: “At a time when the entire nation is quite rightly focused on tackling the Coronavirus, it’s critical we look after patients who need other urgent treatment or a diagnosis.

"We’re proud to support UHS in fulfilling that need and by supporting our fellow healthcare workers caring for Coronavirus patients on the frontline."