Vicki Burns, chemotherapy outreach manager at The Christie
This new unit has been provided through a joint partnership between Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust and Macmillan. Initially, Christie chemotherapy nurses will host a treatment clinic from the unit twice weekly, increasing to three clinics a week in April. The new clinic will provide the opportunity for around 60 Tameside patients per week to receive their cancer treatment locally.
The Tameside clinic is just one of the many developments that my team and I have been involved with over the last few years.
I have worked as a nurse at The Christie since 2003 and have been in my current role as outreach chemotherapy manager since 2013. During this time, I have seen many changes to the chemotherapy service as it has evolved to cope with an ever increasing demand.
An important change in the last four years has been the focus on enabling patients to access their anti-cancer therapies closer to their homes.
Historically, The Christie has successfully worked in partnership with five other hospital trusts in Greater Manchester and Cheshire to provide local chemotherapy clinics to Christie patients. These clinics have enabled hundreds of patients per year to receive their treatment in their local hospital.
In 2012, we developed a new chemotherapy strategy to build on the success of the local hospital clinics and to ensure that the chemotherapy service would meet the demands placed on it over the following three years. The strategy mapped out a network of local provision that would benefit many of our patients living across Greater Manchester.
With patient experience at the forefront of everyone’s minds, the team set up two Christie chemotherapy clinics at health centres in Greater Manchester, run entirely by our chemotherapy nurses. The clinics located in Bury and Ashton proved very popular with our patients and enabled us to treat around 30 patients a week closer to home; these are patients who would otherwise need to make the journey to the main Withington site. Just months later, a third clinic was set up at Salford Royal Hospital, with Christie nurses treating a further 12 patients per week.
The next bold step for the team was to develop a mobile chemotherapy service. Through the amazing work of fundraisers and BBC Radio Manchester, The Christie charity was able to purchase a bespoke chemotherapy mobile unit. Launched in 2013, the unit visits five different locations throughout the week, treating patients in Rochdale, Trafford, Hyde, Chadderton and Bolton. Staffed by our own specialist chemotherapy nurses we are able to treat around 70 patients per week on this unit. The unit has proved extremely popular with our patients and has received excellent feedback. Patients have said that having their treatment locally has reduced anxiety, saved them time and money and made their treatment visit feel ‘less clinical’.
In 2014, we opened ‘The Christie at Wigan’ treatment unit. A joint venture between Wigan Wrightington and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust and The Christie, it offers the opportunity for around 70 patients per week from the Wigan area to receive their cancer treatment locally.
By the end of the three year chemotherapy strategy we had reached our objective with 80% of clinically suitable chemotherapy treatments being administered locally to our patients. The team’s hard work gained recognition from the Quality in Care programme and we won a prestigious award for the impact our service had made on patient experience. We were also thrilled to make the shortlist for two awards from the Nursing Times and Health Service Journal.
In 2015, new objectives were set and we knew we had much work ahead to ensure that the service could support future projected increases in chemotherapy treatments.
In the summer of 2015, we launched ‘Christie at Home’ which takes our chemotherapy nurses out into the community and into our patients’ homes. Over the past 12 months, the team has gone from strength to strength, developing the service to cover the whole of Greater Manchester and Cheshire.
The service currently provides treatments for breast cancer patients, but over the next six months we plan to expand further to be able to administer more treatments to patients with other cancer types.
2017 brings with it many more exciting plans for our chemotherapy outreach service, with additional clinics to be set up at health centres and local blood testing clinics; I know this year will be yet another important one for the service.
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of all the chemotherapy team, the service has come such a long way in the last few years. We are on track to provide in excess of 18,000 chemotherapy treatments through our local clinics this year. Seeing the difference the service makes to our patients will always keep us moving forward. The outreach chemotherapy team is passionate about what we do and we are all so very proud and privileged to be in a position to make such a difference to our patients.
If patients are interested in finding out more about Christie chemotherapy services in the community, please contact the satellite chemotherapy outreach team on 0161 918 7654.