Improving poor cancer survival rates and providing better support in recovery

Partners of Together We’re Better, the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, will improve the lives of local people living with and beyond cancer, thanks to new funding provided by Macmillan Cancer Support.

Working with GPs across Staffordshire, the aim is to increase the number of people taking up the offer of screening. This will help diagnose cancer early and improve the chances of the treatment working. Too many people are being diagnosed with cancer in accident and emergency departments as they are only seeking help when they are experiencing pain or discomfort.

To support the recovery of the person diagnosed and treated for cancer, a meaningful cancer care review will be introduced around 12 months after someone has been diagnosed with cancer. Patients will also be given a clear treatment summary that helps them, and their GP, to understand what signs and symptoms would need further investigation.

Currently, patients attend routine follow up meetings in outpatient clinics, which offer little value to the patient and may simply convey a test result. A greater focus on recovery and health and wellbeing is needed and a more personalised programme is proposed. For this, a team will identify appropriate forms of follow up for different patients. These will include open access follow ups, which will enable patients to return to the clinic immediately without a GP referral if they have any worries or concerns they need to discuss with a health care professional.

Not only will open access follow ups enable people living with and beyond cancer to manage their own health and wellbeing, but it will also provide alternative support to alleviate some of the increasing pressures put on local emergency service departments.

Macmillan Partnership Manager, Lorien Barber, said: "We are very pleased to be able to provide financial support for these projects. Macmillan is committed to ensuring people living with cancer receive the best care at every stage of their cancer experience, including recovery. We hope that these projects will not only improve survival rates across the city and county, but also improve patient access to the support and care they need when recovering from cancer treatment."

 

Simon Whitehouse, Together We’re Better Director, said: “Early presentation and early diagnosis is very important, and so news of this funding having been awarded is fantastic for local people. It will allow the partners of Together We’re Better to work towards improving early diagnosis, whilst also improving the lives of local people living with cancer.”