A new nurse could help reduce A&E waiting times and provide a better hospital experience for cancer patients.
The new Acute Oncology Service pilot costing around £54,000 for 18 months is being funded by Macmillan Cancer Support at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
The service is aimed at improving the care and treatment of patients arriving at the hospital as an emergency due to previously undiagnosed cancers, reactions to cancer treatments or problems with advanced cancer-related symptoms.
The Macmillan Nurse, Sheree Hall, will be the first point of call to support patients living with cancer and ensure they receive appropriate care and support.
She said, “It can be quite daunting to come into hospital, especially if you’re not sure whether a cancer specialist will be there.
“It’s about getting to the patient straight away and asking relevant questions. Can we avoid them being admitted? Can we help them in the home? Can we direct the patient to the right people?”
A recent study, complied by The National Cancer Intelligence Network has shown that ‘too many’ cancers are diagnosed in A&E.
It also revealed that almost a third of cancers in the over-70s are diagnosed when a patient is admitted to hospital as an emergency.
The AOS will, in time, help to reduce unnecessary admittance in A&E resulting in reduced overall waiting times.
Sheree added: “Identifying patients early is extremely important. Reducing the length of stays for patients will benefit the hospital and the person living with cancer. A busy A&E isn’t the best place for people dealing with cancer, so we should be able to support them quicker, which means they can spend more time at home with loved ones. This service helps to provide relief and continuity of care for the patients. It will have a huge impact.”
Sandra Clarkson, Macmillan development manager for Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, added: “This funding will enable us to see exactly what the local needs are in Chesterfield, to identify any gaps, and fine tune our service to fit those needs.
“The service will help to reduce patient’s length of stay in hospital, reduction in emergency admissions, waiting times; reduce the number of avoidable deaths due to ongoing cancer treatment and increase patient satisfaction.”