Our research shows that people living with secondary breast cancer often experience a poorer standard of care compared with their treatment for primary breast cancer. This is why we have teamed up with Breast Cancer Care and developed the Secondary Breast Cancer Pledge, an innovative patient involvement programme for people with secondary breast cancer. The project is closely modelled on our Service Pledge programme and Breast Cancer Care’s Standards of Care for Secondary Breast Cancer.

During a three year pilot we have gained considerable learning and the process has been refined and enhanced. We are now rolling out the project to a further ten hospitals in 2016.

“We found the Secondary Breast Cancer Pledge to be hugely helpful. Engaging with our patients to understand what they value most about how we deliver their care has allowed us to improve the service in ways which benefit them. I would urge other oncology centres to join the Pledge.”

Dr Russell Burcombe, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Kent Oncology Centre

How does it work?

We help hospitals review patient experience of their existing services for people with secondary breast cancer through surveys and focus groups. We then support local patient representatives and hospital staff to agree and implement patient-centred improvements.

Read Lesley’s blog about her experience of being involved in the Secondary Breast Cancer as a Patient Representative

It has been a real pleasure and privilege to help to understand the patient's experience so that we can provide the highest standard of care to our patients. Asking the patients what they think about the current services for secondary breast cancer and how they can be improved has been the springboard to improvements which have already taken place and introduction of other goals which will raise the standard of care for our patients with secondary breast cancer.

I feel that this project is already making a big difference to my understanding of the issues involved in delivery of our treatment. It was a privilege to be able to present our feedback to the heads of department at our meeting and to be listened to and responded to. We need to inform all patients about the project so that more people are aware of what is happening behind the scenes and the efforts that are being made to improve this service.

Angela Coote, first diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in 2006 and Patient Representative in 2015

For more information

If you’d like to find out more about the Service Pledge, please contact Catherine Wood, Health Advocacy Manager, on 020 7025 0082 or email service.pledge@breastcancernow.org