Poole Hospital has today launched its new Service Pledge for Breast Cancer – an initiative in collaboration with Breast Cancer Now – to ensure that services for local breast cancer patients are of the highest possible quality.

Wednesday 20 September 2017      Improving services
Catherine Wood, Caroline Macpherson and Abigail Evans at the launch

L-R: Catherine Wood (Breast Cancer Now), Caroline Macpherson (Breast Care Clinical Nurse Specialist) and Abigail Evans (Consultant Breast Surgeon)

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

Since signing up to the initiative in March 2015, the hospital has given its patients the opportunity to provide feedback on their experiences and what matters most to them as part of a review of its current services.

Through questionnaires and workshops, a range of service improvements have been identified and committed to by the hospital, including:

  • ensuring patients are aware that friends or family are welcome to accompany them to their appointment if they wish
  • setting up a dedicated Breast Care Nurse clinic to provide patients with counselling after their diagnosis, and arranging for a Breast Care Nurse to call 48 hours later to answer any further questions
  • investigating options for flexible and extended clinic appointments to ensure patients have enough time with their consultant
  • setting up an email service for patients to contact a Breast Care Nurse should they need any further support
  • installing photo boards in main waiting room and radiology waiting area to help patients familiarise themselves with staff responsible for their care
  • compiling a post-operative photo library with images of all surgical options available to patients
  • creating a dedicated space to display information about wellbeing services that are available to patients, such as pamper days, and ensuring their general health and wellbeing is discussed in more detail at diagnosis appointments

The Pledge and established goals have been officially launched at Poole Hospital this week, with local patients, breast care nurses and Breast Cancer Now representatives in attendance.

Abigail Evans, Consultant Breast Surgeon at Poole Hospital, said:

“The Breast Cancer Now Service Pledge has been an invaluable experience for the Poole Breast Team.

“It has given us the opportunity to reflect on the service we provide and we have learnt a great deal about ourselves and our patients.

“While we are reassured that there is much of which we can be very proud, we have seen that there are still opportunities to make, often very minor changes, which can make a significant difference to a patient’s experience of breast cancer.”

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

“We are thrilled that Poole Hospital has pledged to achieve the very best standards of care for local patients with breast cancer.

“Sometimes it can be the little things like bringing a friend or family member along to appointments, and knowing that support will be there following a diagnosis 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.