‘We’ve done a lot in 12 months, now we must deliver’
Kathie Longbone is the Macmillan Cancer Support Development Manager at NHS Lincolnshire West Clinical Commissioning Group. Here, she talks about the progress made on a project designed to transform services available to those living with and beyond cancer in Lincolnshire
You can achieve a lot in 12 months. It is fair to say everyone working on the Living With and Beyond Cancer project has done just that.
This time last year, we started out with the ambition of wanting to transform the way people received the life changing news of a cancer diagnosis. We also wanted to improve how they were supported through their cancer journey and beyond.
We wanted to make sure services are in place for patients and their families to give them the kind of support that they need outside of their diagnosis and treatment. Our aims include making sure reliable information is readily available at a variety of locations and that all medical records and treatment history is shared appropriately and promptly between those in acute care and primary care.
What has followed is the development of a framework for the programme thanks to the hard work and dedication of our steering group and feedback from about 400 people across the county.
This helped us establish the themes and projects which I will talk about later.
We have now developed our strategy. This plots out the way forward for our programme.
From the comments we got from patients, we found there are some changes that need to be made around four key areas.
These include information sharing and joining-up services.
We have also identified three main projects to take us forward over the next two years.
The first will look at rolling out what’s called the Recovery Package in acute care. This will involve a holistic needs assessment to identify the needs of a patient to help them live with and beyond their cancer diagnosis.
It will also make sure full treatment summaries are sent to the patient’s GP during and after treatment. It will also make sure the patient is fully aware of the care they can expect, what follow up appointments will involve and why they need to keep seeing clinicians.
A similar project will also work in the community. This will start off in Gainsborough with the view of rolling it out across the county.
The project aims to find out what people need within the community to live with and beyond cancer. It will ensure they can be referred to existing services or services that are being developed by all kinds of organisations or even volunteers in the neighbourhood.
We will be looking at all the different stages of someone’s experience, making sure there is support available. This is from diagnosis, through people’s treatment and afterwards.
The final project will work on making sure reliable sources of information are always available for cancer patients. This will be from places including in the hospital, at your pharmacy, at your GP or even at work.
We know there are brilliant staff and support services already out there. But they face the same problems that the whole NHS is facing.
Resources are stretched, recruitment is difficult and staff only have a certain amount of time to spend with patients.
We will be looking at ways we can use what we’ve already got as well as looking at putting new services in place. We will be working closely with other organisations to make sure our workforce are supported through any changes and are up to date with information about support services are there.
This project, which we are leading on in Lincolnshire West CCG but will be rolled out across the county, aims to join up existing services with potential new ones.
It will make sure people have the support they need to attend appointments and to make their experience of living with cancer as easy as it possibly can be.
Macmillan Cancer Support has funded my post for three years. But this project will not end after those three years.
We will try to get to the point where it has traction and has influenced commissioning decisions so cancer services are there for everyone when they need them.