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 April 2016, 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:
- Providing patients with regular updates of clinic waiting times, and ensuring patients are aware of waiting time procedures when they attend appointments at other hospitals
- Establishing relationships between breast care nurses at Whittington and radiotherapy teams at other Trusts to ensure consistency in care when patients attend radiotherapy appointments at other hospitals
- Ensuring all patients are offered a care plan once their treatment has finished – detailing any ongoing support they may receive and information on follow-up appointments
- Promoting support services that are available at Whittington Hospital, including the emotional support, physical therapies, and nutritional advice available via The Haven outreach service
- Reassuring patients that decisions made by their multidisciplinary team about their treatment will not be affected by Bank Holidays
- Providing patients who are going to UCLH for radiotherapy with a details of a Macmillan information and support contact at the site
The Pledge and established goals have been officially launched at Whittington Hospital this week, with local patients, breast care nurses and Breast Cancer Now representatives in attendance.
Lucy Mavriano, Breast Cancer Nurse Specialist at Whittington Health NHS Trust, said:
“Here at the Whittington I am extremely proud of the services we provide and the work I do. I love making a difference to others – something I get to do every day as a specialist nurse.
“This project has enabled me to see how we can improve our services, listen to patients’ concerns and suggestions, and implement changes.”
Catherine Wood, Health Advocacy Manager at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“We are thrilled that Whittington Health 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 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.