Purpose: During the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been particular concerns regarding the related impact on specialist tumour services. Neuroendocrine tumour (NET) services are delivered in a highly specialised setting, typically delivered in a small number of centres that fulfil specific criteria as defined by the European Neuroendocrine Tumour Society (ENETS). We aimed to address the COVID-19-related impact on specialist NET tumour services in England and other countries. Methods: Electronic survey addressing patient access and delivery of care distributed to all ENETS Centres of Excellence (CoE) in England and matching number of ENETS CoE elsewhere. Semi-quantitative and qualitative analyses of survey responses were performed. Results: Survey response of ENETS CoE in England was 55% (6/11). Responses from six non-UK ENETS CoE elsewhere were received and analysed in a similar manner. Relevant disruption of various NET services was noted across all responding Centres, which included delayed patient appointments and investigations, reduced availability of treatment modalities including delayed surgical treatment and a major negative impact on research activities. The comparison between English and non-UK ENETS CoE suggested that the former had significantly greater concerns related to future research funding (p = 0.014), whilst having less disruption to multidisciplinary meetings (p = 0.01). A trend was also noted towards virtual patient appointments in ENETS CoE in England vs. elsewhere (p = 0.092). Conclusions: Restoration of highly specialised NET services following COVID-19 and planning for future service delivery and research funding must take account of the severe challenges encountered during the pandemic.
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- Centres of Excellence
- Neuroendocrine tumours
- Service disruption