Plans are being drawn up to move cancer services out of public hospitals in Cork to protect patients and staff as the number of Covid-19 cases grows.

Several private hospitals are being looks at as possible locations for cancer surgery, while it is understood that University College Cork has offered its Brookfield Health Sciences Complex for outpatient treatments, such as oral chemotherapy.

Dr Richard Bambury, who is Clinical Director for Cancer Services in Cork University Hospital, says the overall goal would be to decrease footfall in public hospitals so as to lower any risk from the virus to cancer patients and staff.

Cancer care teams from CUH and the Mercy University Hospital have been planning and preparing against Covid-19 for several weeks.

A number of measures have already been put in place.

These include the majority of outpatients clinics being turned into telephone clinics, which means patients are only brought into hospital when deemed absolutely necessary.

The time the patient spends in the waiting room has been cut back with appointment times spread out.

The new standalone Radiotherapy Unit in the Glandore Centre at CUH also ensures that cancer patients do not need to enter the hospital through the main building.