Corinne Faivre-Finn, Christie consultant

Professor Faivre-Finn is an honorary consultant oncologist at The Christie and a professor of thoracic radiation oncology at The University of Manchester, with an interest in lung cancer. Here, she talks about how COVID-19 impacted her work – and how she’s working now.

“COVID-19 has changed the way I work quite a lot. I now work from home 2 days a week out of 5.
“Things have also changed a lot in relation to looking after patients. During the pandemic, we conducted a lot of telephone and video consultations to protect our patients and reduce the number of visits to the hospital. It has changed the way we interact with patients.
“I am the lead for the electronic patient reporter outcomes project (MyChristie-MyHealth) with Professor Janelle Yorke. This has been great as the patient fills in a MyChristie-MyHealth questionnaire 3 days before consultation and by the time they come to the clinic, the consultants and nurses are aware of their symptoms as they have been logged in advance. This means that each consultation can be bespoke and not spent asking lots of exploratory questions. It means that we can really focus on the symptoms and how to alleviate this.
“MyChristie-MyHealth also asks questions on quality of life including stress and anxiety that the patient is experiencing. This started in 2019 and has been embedded into clinical care, this was paid for by the charity. Even though there has been less direct contact during the pandemic, we now know more in advance of the patient visiting the hospital which means we can provide more focus during the consultation.
“The morale of the teams at The Christie has been up and down during the pandemic. It is really encouraging to see that over the past few weeks, we have seen a lot of our research staff return to the office. This has massively improved morale as it is a lot easier to connect with people. A lot of people found working from home difficult, particularly students that we are supervising.
“I was very lucky during the pandemic as I could still come in to work. All meetings, however, were remote and we had a huge lack of conferences, which are so important for everyone to network and share practices.”

How we’re working going forwards

“We have lots of plans in place for the future. We are going in a new direction in relation to the research that is used. We are now using real world data. At The Christie, we serve a population who come from deprived backgrounds, are elderly or have multiple medical conditions. There are always issues with these groups of patients and they are severely underrepresented in clinical trials which means that when deciding on treatment, we often don’t have evidence to guide treatment.
“By using real world data, we can understand more about our patients in the local Greater Manchester population and continue to provide evidence for those patients who are not represented in clinical trials. We can then offer them better and more personalised treatments that will suit their needs.
“Digital healthcare is also developing at a rapid pace and a lot of work has been done around how we can better monitor patients remotely. This has been particularly important during the pandemic.
“I am leading on 3 national and international clinical trials for lung cancer, and we are looking at how we can change the scope on how we manage patients with lung cancer.”

Professor Corinne Faivre-Finn