Information to patients about COVID-19 vaccination

Two vaccines are now in routine use in the UK, Pfizer and BioNTech, and Astra Zeneca-Oxford.

We are advising that all our patients receive a COVID 19 vaccine when this is offered. This can be either of the vaccines approved for use. If you are unsure whether you should go ahead, then do discuss this with your specialist team at The Christie.

Please do not call our Hotline for advice about the receiving the vaccine, as this is for patients who need urgent medical advice.

The Christie will NOT be administering the COVID 19 vaccine to patients at the present time and this is under the direction of NHS England.

Patients should wait to be invited for vaccination through the systems established by their local GP.

Patients with cancer and those receiving treatment have been identified as being in one of the priority groups for vaccination and therefore should be receiving of their vaccine in the next few weeks. If you have not been contacted about receiving the vaccine then please check the website of your GP surgery, where information about vaccinations will be posted.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has recently recommended that vaccination is undertaken (first dose at least, ideally both doses) prior to starting chemotherapy. In some circumstances it might be possible to delay your treatment and you should discuss this with your medical or nursing team. If you are about to start treatment we will recommend to your GP that you are prioritised for vaccination.

Our general advice is however that you should go ahead with treatment (surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy) when you are called to do so rather than delay.

All vaccines (including COVID-19) might be less effective in people receiving chemotherapy due to the impact of the cancer treatment on your immune system. This is very difficult to predict and we recommend that you still go ahead with vaccination if you have had chemotherapy recently or are currently on treatment. We would however advise that this should not be administered on the same day as intravenous chemotherapy in case you react to the vaccine.

Lastly, even if you have been vaccinated, everyone should still follow the keeping safe precautions, including shielding if you are in the most vulnerable category.  This remains very important to reduce the risk of COVID 19 infection.

Read more about the safety, effectiveness and side effects of the vaccine on the NHS website

This information will be updated as required.

Visiting The Christie 

To protect our patients from the spread of COVID-19, we must continue to limit the number of people entering the hospital. Only attend the hospital if you are:

  1. a patient with a pre-arranged appointment, or
  2. a carer, a chaperone or a relative with pre-approval to attend.

If you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 or have any of the following symptoms, please contact your specialist team and do not attend the hospital unless they have advised you to do so:

  • temperature or fever (over 37.8°C) in the last 48 hours
  • a new persistent cough in the last 48 hours 
  • loss or change to sense of smell or taste
  • if you live in the same house as someone who has developed the above symptoms or has had a positive COVID-19 test in the last 14 days

For patients with these symptoms, call The Christie Hotline on 0161 446 3658 for further advice.

For carers, chaperones or relatives with these symptoms, call NHS 111 for further advice.

Visiting inpatients

Visiting times are currently restricted as we are not currently allowing general visitors onto any inpatient ward. Visitors will be allowed in the following circumstances:

  • For patients who are in The Christie for over 14 days, they will be allowed 1 visitor a day (Monday to Friday, 6pm to 7pm; weekends and bank holidays, 3pm to 4pm).  This must be a person from the patient's household or support bubble, and must be booked in advance with the senior ward nurse.
  • For patients who are under the age of 18, they will be allowed 1 parent or guardian to stay with them.
  • Where a patient is in the final hours of their life, a relative or next of kin will be allowed to visit with prior agreement from the senior ward nurse.

You must not attend The Christie if you have any symptoms of COVID or have had a positive COVID test within the previous 14 days. While on site, you will be required to wear a mask and maintain social distancing.

Access to The Christie is via the Oak Road Entrance where you will have your temperature taken and be asked about any symptoms.

Attending the hospital for outpatient and treatment appointments

If you have none of the symptoms noted above then it is really important that you continue to attend all of your appointments, unless told otherwise by your clinical team. This also includes people who are currently shielding.

Anyone accompanying you is asked to drop you at the Oak Road entrance and wait off site until you have completed your treatment or appointment. 

If you require a carer or chaperone because of communication difficulties such as dementia, disease or disability or for any physical reasons, any authorised visitors will need a white visitor authorisation card. You can get a visitor authorisation card from the clinical team in outpatients, the nurse in charge of a ward or the senior nurse on duty in the screening team.

If you're an authorised visitor, it's really important to have your visitor authorisation card with you when you arrive at the Oak Road entrance. You'll need to show this to the screening team to enter The Christie as an authorised visitor.

Telephone and video appointments 

To reduce the number of people coming into the hospital and ensure patients still have their appointments, we have moved some appointments to a secure telephone or video conferencing service.

If your appointment has changed to a telephone or video conferencing consultation, your doctor or nurse will ring you at a pre-arranged time. Any of your household members are welcome to join the consultation with you, with your consent.  

Arriving at the hospital

You must enter the hospital via the main Oak Road entrance and exit via the IPU stairwell back onto Oak Road. 

All patients and pre-authorised carers, chaperones or relatives must complete a screening process before they can proceed into the main hospital.

You will be asked if you: 

  • have had a temperature or fever (over 37.8°C) in the last 48 hours,
  • have developed a new persistent cough in the last 48 hours, 
  • have had a loss or change to sense of smell or taste, or
  • live with someone who has developed any of the above symptoms or has had a positive COVID-19 test in the last 14 days. 

A member of staff will then take your temperature.

Patients: if any risks are highlighted, a nurse will undertake a clinical assessment and liaise with the medical team before allowing you to proceed.

Carers, chaperones or visitors: if any risks are highlighted, you will be asked to return home and contact NHS 111.

Car parking and facilities

We are re-introducing parking charges from Monday 4 January 2021 on both of our car parks for patients and visitors

Our cafe spaces are currently closed but WH Smith is still open. Marks and Spencer Food to Go has now reopened, with opening hours from 7am to 7pm. No hot drinks are available at this stage to minimise footfall and only packaged goods are available.

Withington is the closest local centre, about a 10 minute walk from the hospital. There are a range of cafes along the main street. Didsbury is another local centre about 15 to 20 minutes' walk or a short bus journey. It has a number of cafes and restaurants.

How is The Christie coping with the COVID-19 second wave?

The rise in the numbers of people contracting COVID-19 infections is putting our healthcare systems in Greater Manchester under pressure. Hospitals have been admitting many more patients with COVID-19, while staff too are affected.

The Christie has plans in place to manage these pressures and we carefully monitor how our workforce is affected. We also have kept in place the additional layers of precautions to keep The Christie as safe as we possibly can, that were put in place earlier in the year.

These include our restrictions on visitors to the hospital, daily screening of all patients and staff for fever or recent symptoms as they arrive and using PPE for which we have good supplies. These apply to our Christie radiotherapy centres too.

For additional protection to clinical areas and our patients undergoing procedures, treatments and care, we test clinical staff weekly, together with regulated testing of our patients on admission to hospital and before any treatment can start.

With these in place - and the support of our patients - we can maintain The Christie as a ‘COVID-19 protected site’. This means we keep the risk of any infection as low as we possibly can to provide the most complex treatment safely.

At present, we continue to provide treatments and cancer care, including our research trials, and we are making every effort to do so despite this difficult time.

We want to remind everyone to seek help and advice from your GP if you have any worrying symptoms that could be cancer. You can find out how to do this and why it's important on our Seeking help from the NHS page.

If you have been referred to The Christie, please keep appointments and attend for your treatment.

Support available for patients

Clinical teams: your clinical team is here to help support you during this challenging time. Please contact them if you have any questions or concerns.

The Christie Hotline: all patients on active treatment or who have recently completed treatment can call The Christie Hotline or 0161 446 3658. The Christie Hotline is available if you have any concerns or worries at any time of the day or night.

Managing anxiety booklet: we have also created a booklet Managing anxiety about COVID-19. This is designed to help you change and develop your coping strategies during these changing times.

The cancer information centre: the cancer information centre is currently closed to visitors but is offering advice over the phone or via email at informationcentre@christie.nhs.uk 

Wig fitting service: the wig fitting service is running online, including virtual consultations and wigs by post. Patients can also claim a discount and free shipping on hats bought through Masumi Headwear. Email the cancer information centre for further information.

Complementary therapy: the complementary therapy team have produced videos to help reduce stress levels during the coronavirus pandemic. You can view these on the complementary therapy pages.

Maggie's centre: the Maggie's centre has now re-opened to Christie patients and their loved ones. You can drop in while you're at The Christie for an appointment or book an individual face-to-face appointment. Telephone and web-based support is still available. You can find out more on the Maggie's centre website.

Look Good Feel Better: the Look Good Feel Better service is currently offering virtual workshops for patients struggling with the visual effects of cancer. These are available on the Look Good Feel Better website

Free flu jabs: people at high risk from COVID-19 are also those most at risk from flu. We are urging everyone who is eligible to take up the free flu vaccine this winter.