Friday 15th April 2016
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Spring 2016
After Macmillan held its first acute oncology conference, Mac Voice spoke to two specialists in this area of care.
More than 250 acute oncology professionals from across the UK filled a Birmingham venue last October to hear speakers on a range of topics, including vague symptom management and integrating acute oncology services within ambulatory care. The conference was run by the NHS England Chemotherapy Clinical Reference Group and Macmillan. Endorsement came from the UK Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS) and the Royal College of Physicians.
‘A much needed forum’
Ernie Marshall, Clinical Director of Chemotherapy at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, says: ‘The conference was a huge success and provided a much needed forum to share good practice and highlight innovation.
‘Our vision is to improve patient safety and experience when accessing urgent care in the context of cancer. Acute oncology is the gel that binds site-specific cancer pathways.
‘The evidence base for acute oncology is growing but locked into individual hospitals. In 2016, we aim to define a minimum data set incorporating clinical outcomes, patient experience and service measures. We need a national framework on what constitutes acute oncology for the next five years. We also need joined-up working across disciplines and organisations, especially at the interface of primary and secondary care. Investment in networking services and in core staff will also be important.’
‘Services make a real difference’
Nicky Adams, Macmillan Acute Oncology Nurse Consultant at Walsall Manor Hospital, says: ‘The conference was very good. Sessions discussing the management of diarrhoea and metastatic spinal cord compression were particularly relevant and thought provoking. The posters and innovation shared were of a very high standard.
‘The acute oncology service at Walsall has been running five days a week since June 2011. In the last six months the service has seen 230 patients and 89% of these were seen within 24 hours of admission. We are now negotiating to extend the service to seven days a week. This fits with the priority for local services and aligns with the vision for the NHS.
‘By working alongside emergency departments and medical teams, acute oncology services make a real difference to both professionals and people living with cancer. Services can influence earlier discharge, while reducing inappropriate investigations and hospital stay. In our hospital, the length of stays for acute oncology is 4.2 days against what was once 12.6 days for emergency cancer patients. We can also show that we can avoid admission through timely specialist input.’
Email Ernie Marshall or Nicky Adams.