Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust 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.

Wednesday 26 July 2017      Improving services
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L-R: Lisa Summers, Jayne Kanwar, Cheryl Gilbert, Naz Qreshi, Jenni Hodgetts, Denise Peach, Catherine Wood

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 patients and Breast Cancer Now experts.

Since signing up to the initiative in April 2016, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust 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 over the past 12 months, a range of service improvements have been identified and committed to by the hospital, including:

  • Introducing a new clinic schedule which allows 45 minutes for new diagnosis appointments, and allocating nurses to results clinics to ensure that patients feel fully supported
  • Setting up a new email account to improve patients’ contact with their breast care nurses
  • Providing patients with relevant information on exercise before and after surgery, as well as identifying and referring patients with specific physiotherapy needs
  • Initiating teaching sessions for all ward staff to improve awareness of patients’ mental as well as physical needs
  • Providing leaflets containing information on the wig and prostheses fitting services that are available to patients
  • Offering patients regular radiotherapy appointment times wherever possible

The pledge and established goals have been officially launched this morning at Walsall Manor Hospital, with local patients, breast care nurses and Breast Cancer Now representatives in attendance.

Denise Peach, 59, a breast cancer patient at Walsall Manor Hospital, said:

“Being told you have cancer is the last thing you expect, and the support of family and friends plays an important part in your recovery. But I could never thank the Breast team at Walsall Manor Hospital enough for their support not just for myself but for my immediate family.

“All of the team played an important part in both my physical and mental wellbeing, and it was great to get the opportunity to give something back by being involved in the Breast Cancer Now Service Pledge, helping staff make improvements informed by patients’ views.”

Jayne Kanwar, Macmillan Breast Advanced Nurse Practitioner, and Pledge Lead at Walsall Manor Hospital, said:

“I am delighted that Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust 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 Walsall, 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 Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust has pledged to achieve the very best standards of care for local patients with breast cancer.

“Sometimes it can be the little things like making sure patients feel comfortable throughout their visits 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. More than 200 people in Walsall are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and over 50 die as a result of 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.