My Hospital Appointment During COVID-19

During these uncertain times, you may be feeling anxious about attending scheduled appointments and unsure of what to expect. Cliff Harris explains what happened when he attended his prostate check-up this month and the precautions that were taken to ensure he was safe.

Image by Lucy King Photography

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer about 10 years ago and opted for active surveillance, originally seeing my consultant each 3 months but for the past 5 years this has been every 6 months. Before each consultation I need to arrange a blood test to check my PSA level and once a year I have an MRI scan.

Being due for a consultation early in April, just after lockdown started and being both over 80 and in the vulnerable group, I was apprehensive of going for the blood test as that would have meant going to the third floor testing centre in my local hospital where there is always a queue in a fairly crowded waiting area and an average of a half hour wait.

So I did not go or turn up for my consultation, thinking there was no point without a PSA reading already in my oncologist’s in-tray. My consultant phoned me to reassure me the hospital had taken precautions to enable both blood tests and MRI scans to be taken safely and to give me a new date for the consultation in May.

'There was also a nurse by the entry door to check my temperature before going into the blood test room with no waiting in the building and I was out again in 10 minutes.'

Cliff Harris

With a little trepidation I went for both and found the blood tests centre had been moved to the ground floor so there was no crowded lift or narrow staircase. There was also a nurse by the entry door to check my temperature before going into the blood test room with no waiting in the building and I was out again in 10 minutes. My MRI scan was timed so there was no other patient waiting before me, the questionnaire was filled in with plenty of space between me and the radiographer and again, no one else was in contact with me.

The consultation with my oncologist was then made by phone, and as little had changed from either my last MRI scan or blood test, there were no worries either over my cancer prognosis or chance of coronavirus infection. I have a new appointment in 6 months’ time, by when, we all hope the current health scares and social distancing will be a thing of the past.

Patient Voice


If you have been affected by prostate cancer and would like to share your experiences, email patientvoice@pcr.org.uk for more information.

Press enter or esc to cancel