COVID-19: Statement in response to Level 5 restrictions

Cancer Trials Ireland wishes to inform members, patients and the wider Irish oncology community that our organisation will continue to operate at full capacity for the duration of the Level 5 restrictions, and beyond.

Our organisation has already maximised the remote work that we can do to monitor ongoing cancer clinical trials and we will continue to visits sites in person to monitor trials where our staff are permitted to do so by site administrators.

On that basis, Cancer Trials Ireland is writing to the Chief Executives of hospitals hosting cancer clinical trials urging them to continue allowing monitoring visits to occur, and thereby ensure that trials are not interrupted and patients can continue receiving the associated treatments.

Cancer clinical trials are a critical treatment option, and an essential, ongoing part of treatment for patients enrolled on trials. As such, we consider all of the work we do to support the continuation of these trials as ‘essential’ – including staff members conducting monitoring visits, who we consider to be ‘essential workers’.

Furthermore, it was the view of the attending members of our Clinical Executive Committee (the investigators who oversee all clinical aspects of our work), which met On Tuesday evening (20th Oct) that trial monitoring is a matter of patient safety.

The Clinical Executive asked us to share our letter to hospital CEOs with the chief investigators and principal investigators at sites in order to help them make a robust case for allowing monitoring visits to continue, and thus trials to stay operational.

The Patient Consultation Committee for Cancer Trials Ireland (a sub-committee of the Board) said:

“As previous and current cancer trail participants, the Patients Committee fully endorse Cancer Trials Ireland’s efforts to maintain their operation at full capacity. While we completely understand the difficulties that the current situation imposes on health care professionals, we feel it is essential that cancer trails continue unrestricted and we build on the great progress that has been achieved to date.”

“The committee wish to thank all those involved in delivering the option of participating in a cancer trial during Covid-19 as these trials are a vital component of cancer treatment in Ireland.  Continued supportive measures from government and the HSE are required to ensure there is no interruption in their implementation.”