The Macmillan Acute Oncology Service at the University Hospital of Southampton has developed to offer people with cancer timely access to specialist advice, reassurance and urgent treatment. The service enables patients with cancer to avoid the Emergency Department. All patients are reviewed on arrival by one of the highly skilled emergency practitioners, and are then seen by a cancer care consultant within 24 hours. Thanks to a total of 22 people working within the service, patients’ needs are met on the spot and their length of stay is significantly reduced.
‘We have an emergency phone line which is staffed 24 hours a day,’ says Team Leader Hannah Bingley. ‘Patients can call it if they have any concerns, whether they are treatment-related or general cancer complications. About 50% of callers receive the support they need to stay at home, while we ask the rest to come in.’
‘Some patients have called this service their lifeline. They gain so much reassurance and confidence from knowing that we are here.’