St Bartholomew's Hospital has launched its new Service Pledge for Breast Cancer – an initiative in collaboration with leading UK charity Breast Cancer Now – to ensure that services for breast cancer patients are of the highest possible quality.
Breast Cancer Now’s Service Pledge for Breast Cancer is designed to enable hospitals to identify service improvements tailored to the needs of their patients, with goals being developed by the hospital in collaboration with patients and Breast Cancer Now staff.
Since signing up to the initiative in July 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:
- Reorganising clinics to reduce waiting times, and regularly updating patients on how long a wait they can expect.
- Reducing breast care nurses’ administrative workload, allowing them more time to provide emotional support to patients, a highly valued part of their treatment.
- Introducing a pre-treatment ‘Breast School’ group to talk patients through what to expect at each stage of treatment.
- Developing an app to provide specific information about diagnosis, treatment and services provided by the Trust.
- Ensuring that patients are familiar with Open Access Follow Up – a programme providing support to patients who have completed their course of treatment.
- Booking results appointments according to when results are ready.
- Providing patients with a treatment record to be updated with information on their diagnosis and treatment.
Jane Williams, 58, from Oxfordshire was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in 2012. Following successful treatment, Jane became a patient advocate.
On her role as a Service Pledge Patient Advocate for St Bartholomew's Hospital, Jane said:
“Having had a very positive experience of treatment, I really wanted to give something back, and becoming a patient advocate has enabled me to do so. It is fantastic to see the results of our endeavours over the last year, and also to see how much has already been implemented at St Bartholomew’s. I am sure it will make a great difference to the journey of many of the patients.”
Catherine Wood, Health Advocacy Manager at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“We are thrilled that St Bartholomew’s has pledged to achieve the very best standards of care for patients with breast cancer.
“Sometimes it can be the little things, like having more time to have a chat with a breast care nurse, and knowing what to expect 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.
Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, created by the merger of Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.