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NGH team shortlisted for top cancer award for innovative support for prostate patients

MR1342 Macmillan Uro-oncology Team at NGH shortlisted for award

L-R: Wendy Lilley, Laura Sheehan, Pam Ferrar,, Alice Knight and Judith Fletcher

A Northampton General Hospital team that supports prostate cancer patients has been nominated for a top national award for innovation.

The Uro-Oncology Nurse Specialist Team are finalists in the Macmillan Professionals Excellence Awards 2022 in the Innovation Excellence category.

The award recognises unsung individuals, or teams, who have developed a new approach to supporting cancer patients which has made measurable improvements to care.

The NGH team has worked closely with colleagues at the Macmillan Information & Support Centre, and with men living with prostate cancer, to listen to and respond to their needs.

The resulting initiatives have led to significant improvements to the patient care experience.

Speaking on behalf of the team Macmillan Uro-oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Judith Fletcher, said: “Patient experience surveys had demonstrated to us that cancer patients, particularly prostate cancer patients, had difficulty in contacting the specialist nurses and getting the specialist information and support they needed.

“We set up a working group with our prostate cancer patients to ask them what was important to them and how we could work together to improve access to our service

“As a result we set up a dedicated phone triage line to direct patients to get the relevant information and support they needed - with different options depending on their individual needs.

“We also created a generic template in the form of a simple sticker to be added to patient information packs. This clearly identified who to contact depending on the nature of their query.

“This enables patients to be directed to the most appropriate service to address their query and minimised the risk of patients on treatment leaving messages delaying clinical assessment and impacting on clinical outcomes. The phone triage and the sticker have now been adopted throughout the Cancer Nurse Specialist teams.”

The team also set up webinars, information videos, and held live online Q&A events with healthcare professionals to help patients better understand and manage their condition.

As a result of adopting the new ways of working, within three months, the numbers of calls answered directly by staff, (rather than responding to messages left on the answerphone) increased from 48% to 93%.

The number of times patients accessed information videos/webinars to support their self-management increased from 29 at the start of the initiative in April 2020 rising to more than 1,000 hits in November 2021, and to just under 2,500 in August 2022

A local patient experience survey six months on from the launch of the group in February 2021 showed that the percentage of patients who found it easy/quite easy to contact their clinical nurse specialist increased from 72% to 85%.

NGH’s Macmillan Cancer Lead Nurse, Liz Summers, who nominated the team for the award, said: “The key to the success of this work was working closely with men living with prostate cancer, listening to what was important to them, and then making changes to improve care.

“Listening to them was a very powerful experience and it enabled us to take some practical steps which have made a real difference to the way we provide care and the way that patients experience it.”

Northampton General Hospital’s Director of Nursing, Debbie Shanahan, said: “I am delighted that our Uro-Oncology Nurse Specialist Team have been shortlisted for this prestigious award.

“They have demonstrated a very strong commitment to engage with patients and adjust services to meet their needs - which is at the heart of what we do in healthcare.

“The approach they have adopted has made some demonstrable improvements in the care experience for men with prostate cancer and I wish them well in the awards on November 8.”

As part of the judging process the team will make a presentation on their work to judges on September 12. They will find out if they have been successful at an awards ceremony on November 8 in London.

Posted on Friday 2nd September 2022
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