Wednesday 20 September 2017 marked the launch of an official pledge from Northampton General Hospital to improve services and care for local secondary breast cancer patients.

Monday 25 September 2017      Improving services
Breast Cancer Now representatives joined Pledge Leads and patient representatives at the Northampton General Hospital to launch the Secondary Pledge

L-R: Susanna Glover (Senior Health Advocacy Officer at Breast Cancer Now), Tamsin Douce (Patient Representative), Ruth Fox (Macmillan Secondary Breast Cancer Nurse Specialist), Diane Moulds (patient), Elizabeth Summers (Cancer Lead Nurse)

The UK’s leading breast cancer charities – Breast Cancer Now and Breast Cancer Care – have teamed up to help Northampton General Hospital identify important changes to improve services for local people diagnosed with incurable secondary breast cancer.

There are around 36,000 people living with secondary breast cancer in the UK – where the disease has spread beyond the breast or armpit to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or liver.1 Secondary breast cancer cannot be cured but it can be treated and controlled, sometimes for a number of years.

The Secondary Breast Cancer Pledge was designed with secondary breast cancer patients in mind. It gives them the opportunity to work with the two charities by providing their view on what matters most to them and their care.

Through questionnaires and workshops over the past year, a range of patient-led service improvements at the hospital have been identified, including:

  • providing a booklet dedicated to secondary breast cancer to ensure patients receive individualised information and advice that is relevant to them
  • developing health and wellbeing sessions to make sure patients know where and how they can access support
  • creating poster displays to highlight the importance of drinking plenty of fluids prior to cannulation, to ensure patients are as comfortable as possible during the procedure
  • developing a photo board to ensure patients are aware of which members of staff are responsible for their care
  • raising awareness of ongoing clinical trials, and reassuring patients that they have been considered for any trials that they are eligible for

Ruth Fox, Macmillan Secondary Breast Cancer Nurse Specialist and Pledge Lead at Northampton General Hospital, said:

“We have been delighted to be involved in the Pledge and to work with secondary breast cancer patients and these charities to improve the patient experience. We strive to put patients at the centre of what we do, so to shape our service using patient feedback has been a great opportunity.”

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now and Samia al Qadhi, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Care, said:

“We are delighted that Northampton General Hospital has pledged to achieve top standards of care for people living with secondary breast cancer.

“Those living with the disease require specialist support to address their complex needs and the uncertainty they face about the future.

“It is wonderful that patients sit at the heart of this pioneering initiative and that we’re helping to ensure they receive the best treatment and care.”