Monday 10th September 2012
In the first part of this edition of Sharing good practice, Consultant Haematologist Dr Alastair Smith and Macmillan GP Adviser Dr Lucy Thompson, discuss how The Treatment Summary is improving communication between healthcare professionals.
In 2010, a group of Macmillan GP advisers identified key information that would be helpful to them at the end of a patient’s initial cancer treatment. The GPs had been receiving multiple forms of communication from colleagues in secondary care and lacked a simple summary of a patient’s cancer diagnosis, treatment and an ongoing management plan.
To improve this situation, the Treatment Summary template was designed by the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative (NCSI).
The Treatment Summary is a document produced by secondary cancer care professionals at the end of treatment and sent to the patient’s GP. It provides important information for GPs, including possible treatment toxicities, information about side effects and/or consequences of treatment, signs and symptoms of a recurrence and any actions for the GP.
It aims to inform GPs and other primary care professionals of any actions they need take and who to contact with any questions or concerns. The patient also receives a copy to improve understanding of their condition and to provide a summary to share with other professionals and those of their choice, eg for travel insurance purposes. A copy of the Treatment Summary in the case notes is also useful for medical staff if the patient is admitted in an emergency after primary treatment is complete.
Treatment Summary was tested in 11 NHS test sites across four tumour groups, using a standard template. Testing was supported by NHS Improvement. Around 250 summaries were issued to GPs over a six-month period. Its use was evaluated by the NCSI through surveys, telephone interviews and face-to-face meetings with over 50 clinicians.
The Treatment Summary was positively received in both primary and secondary care. 80% of GPs found the summary ‘useful’ or ‘very useful’. Over 50% felt it would make a difference to the way they managed patients, and 90% wanted its use to continue.
The majority of hospital clinicians recognised the value of recording what could be months of treatment and holistic care into a concise summary. One clinician commented that he felt, ‘it made us document and communicate better’, another thought it to be ‘excellent’.
An updated version of the Treatment Summary has been developed for wider use. It can be found together with a user guide at ncsi.org.uk It can be formatted to suit local community or IT systems, however the key headings, GP READ codes and
NCSI acknowledgements should be maintained.
Cancer Care Review
The Treatment Summary informs the Cancer Care Review (CCR). This is a review that GPs are required to carry out with their patients six months after a diagnosis of cancer. A CCR template was also tested and evaluated by Macmillan during 2010. The evaluation looked specifically at how the templates are used by GPs, how they could be used more effectively, and how helpful the review is for patients. See page viii for more about CCR and the evaluation.
Download The Treatment Summary
Follow these links to download The Treatment Summary [Word document, 175 Kb] and the user guide [PDF, 343 Kb].
Continue reading this issue of Sharing good practice
Part two - A secondary care perspective
Part three - A primary care perspective
Part four - Policy