Pancreatitis / Pancreatic Disease and COVID-19

16th June 2020

This is an enormously difficult time for our health service and for everyone fighting COVID-19.

The situation is particularly difficult for people with existing health conditions such as pancreatitis and those who are on the waiting list for pancreatic surgery. There has unfortunately had to be delays in pancreatic surgery for people who have pancreatitis, as it is not safe to have surgery with a risk of contracting covid-19, as this makes the surgery more dangerous.

The hospitals are now starting services up again, but there will be unfortunately be backlogs in the system meaning that people might have to wait longer for treatment. The NHS is reassuring patients that professional care is available, people should always continue to seek advice when worried and if assessment or treatment is needed this will be in a safe, low risk environment. Guts UK want to provide our community with guidance as to what to do if you are struggling with symptoms or your situation has got worse and you need to know where to go for help.

Referrals to Consultants:

Clinics are now beginning to go ahead; but due to Covid-19 there may be delays in the system. If you have not been seen by a consultant yet, there is a referral triage process in-place, which will give guidance to doctors about who needs to be seen with what priority. Please note, this will be dependent on your situation when you were first referred to the consultant by your GP. If your situation has worsened, then contact your GP in the first instance or see below for what to do in emergencies.

If you have a named consultant, then contact the consultant’s secretary, who can get a message to your doctor. The number is usually found in hospital letters, or ask for your named consultant secretary when you contact the hospital switchboard.

Referrals to Dietitians:

If you have been referred and you need to know whether clinics are going ahead, then contact the hospitals department of nutrition and dietetics by email or telephone. The telephone is likely to go to answer machine, with messages taken off once or twice a day – please leave your full name, hospital number and a brief description of the problem, plus you contact details.

Please note dietetic department email and telephone service are not a 24-hour service. If you have already been seen by a dietitian and have been offered a follow up appointment, the dietitian will be happy for you to contact them, if you are currently experiencing nutritional problems or losing weight. The dietitian can provide advice over the telephone or by email, if needed. If you have been discharged, then contact your consultant or GP to request another referral.

Problems with feeding tubes:

Inability to provide feed through a feeding tube is treated as an emergency, so do let your healthcare team know as soon as possible if you have having difficulties with your tube. Advice may vary, depending on the hospital where you are treated, therefore, it is difficult to be specific. You should have been given advice on discharge from the hospital with details and contact information regarding what to do if there is a problem with your feeding tube.  Any difficulties with feeding pumps you can contact the nutrition feed company (who provide feeds and ancillaries), they have a helpline to contact, or a nutrition nurse, using the contact details provided to you by the hospital or community dietitian. Company helplines are open 24 hours a day and can provide advice regarding any feeding pump problems.

Medication problems:

There is currently a problem with supply of the Creon 25,000 iu tablets, this is not a shortage of the medication, but is a result of distribution problems leading to unpredictable supplies. Mylan have contacted Guts UK so we can inform our community that the UK will experience a temporary and limited supply constraint of Creon 25k in the upcoming weeks.

Read more about the shortage of Creon 25,000 here & Mylan’s official statement. Updates will be posted to www.creon.co.uk

Please know that the team at Guts UK are still here to support you with any queries you may have too. We may take a little longer than usual to respond, but we are here for you. Contact info@gutscharity.org.uk or call 07821 122246 / 01484 483123.

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