Nottingham hospital launches pledge to improve breast cancer services

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Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust has today launched its new Service Pledge for Breast Cancer – an initiative in collaboration with leading UK charity Breast Cancer Now – to ensure that services for loc al 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 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.

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Through questionnaires and workshops over the past 12 months, a range of service improvements have been identified and committed to by the hospital, including:

  • installing information boards in the clinic waiting area to keep patients updated about running times
  • ensuring patients receive clear information upon diagnosis – including information on financial support and side-effects of treatment
  • introducing ‘Link Practitioners’ to improve communication between the breast unit and other departments
  • improving support after treatment by providing patients and GPs with an end of treatment summary, and ensuring patients receive post-operative calls from their breast care nurse assistant
  • improving access to the Breast Cancer Support Group in clinic – members of the group will be available to meet patients on the day of their diagnosis, and details of the support group will be made widely available via patient leaflets, end of treatment summaries and the Nottingham Breast Institute (NBI) website

The pledge and established goals have been officially launched at NUH this week, with local patients, breast care nurses and Breast Cancer Now representatives in attendance.

Mr Douglas Macmillan, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon at NUH, said:

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“The Nottingham Breast Institute was delighted to participate in the Breast Cancer Now Service Pledge and found this a very valuable insight in to how the service we provide is viewed by our patients. We are very pleased to see that the results show an extremely high level of satisfaction with the quality of treatment and overall service that the Nottingham Breast Institute provides, and across the board patient satisfaction was extremely high.

“Usefully, there have been areas highlighted for improvement, which have almost all centred around process. A lot of work has been done to address this already and this work is continuing. Overall the exercise has shown that in all important respects the quality of treatment received by patients under the care of the Nottingham Breast Institute is of a very high level and this I believe is a testament to the skill and dedication of all the staff, at every level, who all work extremely hard to provide the best level of care and certainly take pride in the very positive feedback that we have received.”

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Catherine Wood, Health Advocacy Manager at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“We are thrilled that Nottingham University Hospitals 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 knowing support is available from the day of diagnosis, or receiving a follow-up call from a specialist after an operation, 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.

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Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, created by the merger of Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

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