The Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (QEQM) Hospital and the Kent and Canterbury Hospital multidisciplinary team has today pledged to ensure that services for local breast cancer patients are of the highest possible quality, following the launch of its new Service Pledge for Breast Cancer – an initiative in collaboration with Breast Cancer Now.

Thursday 10 August 2017      Improving services
Breast Cancer Now representatives joined Pledge Leads and patient representatives

Breast Cancer Now representatives joined Pledge Leads and patient representatives at the QEQM to launch the re-pledge last night

Breast Cancer Now's Service Pledge for Breast Cancer is designed to enable hospitals to identify service improvements tailored to the needs of their patients, with goals being developed by the hospitals in collaboration with patients and Breast Cancer Now experts.

The QEQM and the Kent and Canterbury Hospital – which are both part of the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust – first completed the Service Pledge in 2011. Since committing to re-pledge in February 2016, the hospitals’ multidisciplinary team has given its patients the opportunity to provide feedback on their experiences and what matters most to them as part of a new review of its current services.

Through questionnaires and workshops over the past 12 months, a range of service improvements has been identified and committed to by the hospitals, including:

  • Minimising delays in pharmacy and delivery of medication to reduce chemotherapy waiting time
  • Ensuring patients are informed about any waiting times and the reasons for the wait
  • Standardising the process for giving patients results of their annual mammograms
  • Reviewing IT systems to see whether staff access to results can be improved
  • Developing a dedicated breast service web page to provide key support and information to patients and using TV screens in the chemotherapy departments to advise where this information can be found
  • Moving the location of the Kent and Canterbury Hospital Breast Care Nurse room to ensure patients’ privacy and comfort
  • Introducing new, more comfortable prosthesis options for patients

The pledge and established goals were officially launched last night at the QEQM, with the breast consultants, local patients, breast care nurses, chemotherapy staff and Breast Cancer Now representatives in attendance.

Sarah, 72 from Folkestone, a breast cancer patient at Kent and Canterbury Hospital, said:

“I have undergone breast cancer treatment twice over the last 13 years and the recent improvements I have seen at East Kent Hospitals have been amazing. The staff have seized the opportunity provided by Breast Cancer Now’s Service Pledge to ensure that levels of service and care for breast cancer patients are the absolute best they can be.

“Breast Cancer Now has worked closely with all the teams, listening carefully to everyone’s views, especially those of the patients. As a result of the Service Pledge, care for breast cancer patients in Kent will now be better than ever.”

Nessy Potter, Macmillan Breast Care Nurse Specialist at Kent and Canterbury Hospital, said:

“I am delighted that the QEQM and Kent and Canterbury’s multidisciplinary team has launched the Breast Cancer Now Service Pledge. It has provided valuable insight into how the service we provide is experienced and viewed by patients in Kent, and by working together we have identified improvements that will ensure that our patients receive the very best service and care.”

Catherine Wood, Health Advocacy Manager at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“We are thrilled that the QEQM and Kent and Canterbury’s multidisciplinary team has again pledged to achieve the very best standards of care for local patients with breast cancer.

“Sometimes it can be the little things, like ensuring patients know where they can access key information and support, that can make a huge difference for patients at an already difficult time; this is something at the heart of our Service Pledge for Breast Cancer.

“The Service Pledge helps patients to speak up about their experiences, and what matters most to them about their local service, translating this feedback to help the hospital to improve these things and provide the best care possible.”

Breast cancer is still the most common cancer in the UK, with around 50,000 women and around 350 men being diagnosed with the disease each year.

Since its launch in 2003, the Breast Cancer Now Service Pledge has revolutionised expectations for over 30,000 breast cancer patients at more than 80 hospitals across the UK, identifying and implementing improvements that make a real difference to patients locally.