A message to our patients about COVID-19

To all of our patients at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (Peter Mac)

We recognise that this is a very worrying time for all Australians - and particularly for anyone who is being treated for cancer. The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live and this added uncertainty means we’re receiving more questions than usual from our patients.

As you know, both cancer and some treatments for cancer, make you more likely to be susceptible to infections. Usually this might be a concern regarding coughs, colds and seasonal flu. But at the moment, we are all alert to the added concern of being infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

The first thing to say is that everyone is an individual and has a personalised treatment plan. This will differ depending on the type of cancer you have and what has been agreed with your senior doctors. 

Your treating team will advise when you need to come into Peter Mac at Parkville or to one of our campus sites. They may also be able to offer telehealth appointments via video or telephone conferencing. 

However, not all assessments or treatments are available off-site.

It is really important that you feel confident to come to the Peter Mac hospital sites for necessary assessments or treatment. 

We want to continue treating your cancer in the best way possible. So, if one of our senior doctors recommends an on-site assessment or treatment, we encourage you to keep these appointments.

No Peter Mac staff members or patients have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

We are doing absolutely everything possible to improve your safety when you need to attend for a clinic visit, day therapy or as an inpatient. To do this, we have taken the following steps:

  • As an added precaution, all patients and visitors are required to wear a mask in the Peter Mac building for the duration of their visit. You will be provided with a mask and instructions on how to wear it upon entry. 
  • All staff and visitors are being screened with a temperature check and a series of questions as they enter the buildings
  • Visitor numbers have been reduced and, apart from exceptional circumstances, children under 16 are not permitted to attend the hospital.
  • We have increased the amount of hand sanitisers throughout our buildings
  • We’ve increased the cleaning regimes in our clinical and general areas
  • We’re providing extra training for all staff on infection prevention, and
  • We’re observing social distancing requirements. Waiting areas are no longer crowded and protective screens have been installed in all reception areas.

To provide you and your family with the information you need, we have also put some commonly asked questions and answers on our website. Translated materials are also available online.

Finally, if you have specific questions please contact your Patient Navigator who will be able to link you with a team of Nurse Consultants who can answer your questions.  If you have not yet been assigned a Patient Navigator, please contact our switchboard on 8559 5000 and ask to be put through to your relevant clinical team.

With very best wishes,

From the Peter McCallum Cancer Centre team