Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the delivery of NET services and patient care. We retrospectively analysed the recovery of NET service provision over the COVID-19 recovery period 2020-2021.
Method: The NET database was searched using 3 NET physician codes. Anonymised data was analysed, including PRRT, MIBG, endoscopy and bronchoscopy rates. In February 2022, patient satisfaction questionnaires were posted out to 87 randomly selected NET patients, treated between January and December 2021. The anonymised data was tabulated in an Excel spreadsheet and analysed.
Results: A total of 742 patients had recorded attendance at the NET centre, with 15% face-to-face, 83% telephone and 2% video. 693 patients were follow-up. Among new patient appointments, 59% were face-to-face and 41% telephone. The questionnaire received 51/87 responses. 18% had tested positive for COVID-19. 57% liked telemedicine follow-up. 96% felt cared for by their physicians and were satisfied with the information provided about their illness. 90% felt the wait period before examinations or treatments was acceptable, in comparison to 79% in 2020. None felt their chemo/radiotherapy was delayed. 33% reported an increase in anxiety and 82% felt psychologically supported. PRRT and MIBG were administered over 92 and 7 treatments in 2021 compared with 82 and 2 in 2020 respectively. The number of annual bronchoscopy procedures fell by 45% in 2020 compared to 2019 and increased by 20% between 2020 and 2021. The number of upper and lower GI endoscopies was 56% and 77% of 2019 levels in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic saw a change in the delivery of NET consultations. The results demonstrate NET service provision has not fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels, which may have long term implications for NET patient care. It is important to assess the long-term impact of the pandemic on morbidity and mortality in NET patients and continue to monitor NET service recovery.