NICE guidance states that patients with potentially curative prostate cancer should have the opportunity to choose between surgery and radiotherapy as treatment options. In Lancashire and South Cumbria, a shortage of consultant oncologists meant patients experienced significant waits to discuss radiotherapy. As a result, many were opting to undergo surgery, rather than waiting to see an oncologist, and therefore forgoing their right to be fully informed of all treatment options. To change this and reintroduce real choice for patients, Tracey took on the pioneering new post of Macmillan Consultant Radiographer – the first of its kind in the UK within prostate cancer.
As a highly experienced and knowledgeable radiographer, Tracey’s role mirrors that of a clinical oncologist for this defined group of patients. Crucially, Tracey can see patients more quickly and offer them enhanced support through evening clinics, holistic needs assessments and individualised care plans. As a result of her hard work, determination and clinical leadership, she has created an astonishing and truly patient-centred service.
‘The aim was to get to people in a timely manner, increase the capacity for patients to be seen, reduce the workload for the oncologists,’ she says. ‘This allows them to concentrate on the more complex patients with more complicated needs who needed more time, and it allows me to spend ample time with patients who are struggling with decision making.
‘I normally see patients in the same week as the urologist sees them to talk about surgery. This, alongside other changes made earlier in the pathway, has shaved about three or four weeks off the pathway, which is important for the patient because it means they are fully informed about what their treatment options are.’
‘Tracey has also been selected as a Macmillan Fellow for her outstanding achievements. As a Fellow, Tracey can access a grant of up to £10,000. Find out more about the Macmillan Fellowship.
If you would like to find out more about Tracey’s work please email Sarah Taylor, Partnership Quality Lead.