Shortlisted nominees 2015

We'd like to congratulate all the shortlisted nominees in 2015 for the fantastic work they do to support people living with cancer.

Innovation excellence

Dr Tania Anastasiadis - Macmillan GP and Macmillan GP Facilitator, Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group

Tania is a great advocate for people living with and beyond cancer in Tower Hamlets, East London. As a GP facilitator, her role focuses on improving other GPs’ understanding of cancer services and encouraging them to challenge and reflect on their own practices – from screening right through to survivorship. For example, she led a drive for GPs to look at how they do bowel screening for colon cancer, which resulted in an enhanced service across the borough.

Thanks to the collaborative nature of her role, Tania has helped to bring a number of innovative services and projects to life. Her vision and current focus is making sure that cancer is viewed and treated as a long-term condition in a primary care setting, alongside other chronic conditions such as diabetes.

If you have any questions about Tania’s work please email Macmillan Development Manager Daniel Callanan.

Susanne Gray - Macmillan Nurse, Renfrewshire Health and Social care Partnership

Susanne supports and empowers local staff to continuously improve the palliative care they provide in the community through innovative tools and services. One of her biggest achievements has been the development of the first palliative care community kardex for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

A type of medical information system, the kardex has been designed to support the use of ‘just in case’ boxes in the homes of patients nearing end of life. The aim is to ensure that the drugs within the boxes and prescribed on the kardex reflect the medications a patient is actually taking for their symptoms – rather than offering a temporary fix until a healthcare professional can prescribe an appropriate drug at an appropriate dose.

This is one of a number of steps taken by Susanne to improve symptom management, prevent hospital admissions and reduce out-of-hours GP calls for people nearing end of life in Renfrewshire - reassuring patients and their families that they can continue to be cared for at home.

If you have any questions about Susanne’s work please email Macmillan Development Manager Nici Hill-Lyons.

Gillian Knight - Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse, South Wales Cancer Network

Gillian has made huge strides forward in a short amount of time to support the strategic management of the specialist cancer nursing workforce in South Wales. She has adopted innovative approaches to the enhancement of clinical effectiveness to ensure that care is consistent and patient-centred.

Her achievements include setting up regular forums with the specialist cancer nurses at each health board to discuss opportunities to improve the patient and carer experience and ensure optimal patient outcomes whilst also considering the impact of the specialist cancer nurse. She has collaborated with many stakeholders to develop a foundation course in cancer to empower generalists to talk to people affected by cancer and to know what support services are available locally.

If you have any questions about Gillian’s work please email Macmillan Development Manager Kim Morris.

Suzanne Nimmo - Macmillan Lecturer / Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist Palliative Care, Edinburgh Napier University

In recent years, Suzanne has used her extensive nursing experience and expertise to develop and lead on a module called ‘Supporting people living with and beyond cancer’ at Edinburgh Napier University. The first of its kind in Scotland, this innovative module is delivered fully online and covers a range of issues around cancer survivorship. Some of the guest lecturers are experts from various healthcare settings, as well as former students.

Many of the students are nurses who are now applying their new learning to practice as a result of completing this module. The assessment is patient focused with a survivorship theme.

By equipping participants with the practical skills and tools they need to better support people living with and beyond cancer, the module helps to grow their confidence and ultimately enables them to improve the experiences of people affected by cancer.

If you have any questions about Susanne’s work please email Macmillan Development Manager Nici Hill-Lyons.

Service Improvement Excellence

Sandra Dixon - Macmillan Thoracic Surgical Nurse Specialist, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Sandra has significantly improved the experience of people undergoing surgery for suspected or diagnosed primary lung cancer at St James’s Hospital, despite overseeing between 40 and 50 patients at any one time.

Her key achievements include developing a robust communications pathway with referring lung cancer nurse specialists in the district – helping to ensure that the transition of patients between hospitals is as seamless and stress-free as possible.

Sandra’s also spearheaded a new patient information programme, including the development of a DVD, to help manage people’s expectations about lung resection surgery and the recovery period. As a result, patients have reported feeling a lot less anxious and more prepared for their operations.

If you have any questions about Sandra’s work please email Macmillan Development Manager Karen Scott.

Gill Faley - Macmillan Experience Based Design Project Lead, Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Gill has spearheaded the improvement of cancer services at Dorset County Hospital by involving patients and listening to their experiences – for example, through events where patients were brought together in the same room as the healthcare professionals who treated them.

Using the experienced-based design approach and taking on board patient feedback, Gill and her team have been able to make a number of small changes with a big impact. Examples include moving scales out of waiting areas, introducing buzzers for chemotherapy and providing end-of-treatment summaries.

And the project has also benefited patients in another way: by giving them an opportunity to tell their story, it has empowered people affected by cancer to manage their own situation more effectively and supported them through their recovery as well.

If you have any questions about Gill’s work please email Macmillan Development Manager Paula Bond.

Laura Pritchard - Macmillan Lead for Psychological Therapies, Brighton and Sussex Universities Hospital Trust

Laura leads a team of volunteer counsellors at Sussex Cancer Centre who support people dealing with issues such as depression and anxiety as a result of their cancer diagnosis. When Laura first came into her current role, it was an at-risk post. Recognising the important of psychological care for cancer patients, Laura fought hard to retain it – and the service is now thriving and growing, with more resources on the way.

As well as providing counselling and workshops for patients, Laura offers training to clinical staff to empower them to make simple interventions that can make a huge difference to a person’s quality of life. Most recently, in light of the strong link between physical inactivity and depression, Laura’s been working on a project to encourage patients to be more active. This has resulted in a local gym offering dedicated classes for cancer patients, as well as the introduction of a new Macmillan post holder to focus exclusively on physical activity.

If you have any questions about Laura’s work please email Macmillan Development Manager Kristiina Parkinson.

Debbie Smith - Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre Manager, University Hospital of South Manchester

With a background in nursing, Debbie became manager at the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support centre in Manchester in 2010. Since then she’s introduced and developed the successful Macmillan Connections initiative – a programme to help people living beyond cancer combat the feelings of isolation they may experience.

Macmillan Connections is made up of a number of different programmes, including walking and yoga groups, arts and crafts clubs, and even a gardening group which maintains an allotment nearby. These have become a great source of support and friendship for their members, and many of them have gone on to become Macmillan volunteers themselves – giving back to the centre and the community. Debbie and her team work tirelessly to push forward their innovative ideas and ensure the centre’s services are patient-led in every way.

If you have any questions about Debbie’s work please email Macmillan Development Manager Julie Atkin-Ward.

Alison Wyatt - Macmillan Specialist Oncology Physiotherapist, Velindre Cancer Centre, Cardiff

After joining Velindre four years ago, Alison identified a gap in services for women experiencing urinary incontinence following gynae-oncology treatment. She subsequently developed a service for assessing and treating these patients, which involved liaising with and benchmarking against other continence services. During this time, Alison also completed a course that allows her to conduct internal pelvic floor assessments. She’s also gone on to complete acupuncture training and has established a very successful acupuncture service for patients experiencing hot flushes.

Alison also identified a need for neuro-oncology clinics to gain input from other therapy areas and help maximise patient outcomes. Following this, Alison’s formed strong partnerships with occupational therapy and speech and language therapy teams, and has developed a screening tool to help identify appropriate patients.

If you have any questions about Alison’s work please email Macmillan Development Manager Ginny Brink.

Team Excellence

Berkshire Well-being Programme - Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust (Wexham Park)

Led by Shelagh Thompson, this multidisciplinary team has introduced a number of services to help improve the well-being of people affected by cancer, particularly post-treatment, and allow them to take back control of their lives. These services include physical activity classes, self-management courses, educational programmes, clinical psychology, and counselling sessions with Relate for patients, carers or family members experiencing relationship issues.

By working in close partnership with various stakeholders, including local authorities, trusts and leisure centres, the team’s successfully brought these services out into communities and made them a part of people’s everyday lives. And the services are transforming the lives of people affected by cancer – helping them to make significant gains in their health, social interaction and confidence.

If you have any questions about the teams work please email Macmillan Development Manager Helen Petley.

Macmillan Community Specialist Palliative Care Team - Hull City Healthcare Partnership CIC

Bev Clark, Macmillan Practice Development Nurse Specialist, and the large, multidisciplinary team she is part of provide end-of-life and palliative care for people affected by cancer in Kingston-upon-Hull, East Yorkshire.

In 2013 the team became part of the Macmillan Specialist Care at Home project. They’ve since developed a number of new ways of working including new protocols for providing clinical interventions in patients’ homes, rather than in hospital. They’ve also developed a new volunteer service, education delivery and a third Specialist Palliative Care Clinic in the community.

The team’s proactive and pioneering approach has also led to the implementation of an electronic patient record board, daily team meetings to keep everyone up to speed, and the launch of an end-of-life care academy for registered nurses. This year, for the first time, the team has also started recruiting volunteers to work directly with patients. Bev hopes this will allow them to offer an even wider range of support from the point of diagnosis – for example, by having volunteers accompany people to hospital appointments.

If you have any questions about the teams work please email Macmillan Development Manager Lorraine McDonald.

Macmillan Gynae-Oncology Team - Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust

This team has successfully transformed the pathway for gynae-oncology patients requiring paracentesis (the draining of fluid from the abdomen).

Previously, people having the procedure – many of them palliative care patients – often complained about the length of their stay in hospital and how mismanaged the procedure was. It was often carried out by a different consultant on every visit, without proper explanation or reassurance.

In response to this feedback, the team created a nurse-led service that gives patients a single point of contact for all paracentesis enquiries. Now the procedure is usually performed by the nurses themselves, who develop a rapport with the patients and become trusted, familiar faces. Because they no longer rely on consultant availability, hospital stays have been reduced from three or four days to one. The team also provides junior doctors with training to give them the skills and confidence they need to perform the procedure correctly.

If you have any questions about the teams work please email Macmillan Development Manager Tudor Humphreys.

Macmillan Information and Support Service - Manchester City Council

This extremely proactive team provides information and support to people affected by cancer across Manchester – whether that means providing a friendly ear, directing people to information, or helping people with practical or financial concerns.

By breaking down some of the barriers that local people face in accessing the right services and support, the team helps them to become more independent and gives them the confidence to take back control of their lives.

The team also goes to great lengths to raise awareness of cancer and promote screening programmes among Manchester’s very diverse local communities, including deprived areas with low literacy rates. To do this, they work very closely with the communities themselves and develop tailored ways to communicate with them – ensuring that messages can be easily understood.

If you have any questions about Debbie’s work please email Macmillan Development Manager Julie Atkin-Ward.

Macmillan Palliative Care Team - Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust

This team has improved access to palliative care and information for patients in Cornwall through the creation of a link nurse development programme.

The aim of the programme is to educate ward-based nurses in all aspects of specialist palliative and end-of-life care. The ward nurses meet with palliative care clinical nurse specialists for half a day of training, four times a year.

As well as being empowered to enhance the delivery of palliative and end-of-life care in their teams, the newly trained link nurses can share their knowledge throughout their clinical area – ultimately bringing specialist palliative care closer to the patients and families.

If you have any questions about the teams work please email Macmillan Development Manager Jacqui Hodge.

West Yorkshire Head and Neck Redesign Project - Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

This collaborative project in West Yorkshire started when the team at Bradford Teaching Hospitals Trust looked at how to personalise care for patients with head and neck cancer. It wanted to streamline follow-ups across the region, so embarked on the project with neighbouring trusts.

Each team has focused on different aspects of the head and neck cancer pathway, sharing their learning and successes along the way.

Their achievements include:

  • involving a psychologist in patient follow-ups, introducing motivational interviewing within holistic needs assessments, and developing a new cancer care coordinator post in Bradford
  • having clinical nurse specialists or allied health professionals perform follow-ups in Mid Yorkshire (after appropriate training) to free up consultant time for new referrals
  • improving patient outcomes in Calderdale and Huddersfield through weekly appointments with patients for six weeks post-treatment
  • creating an educational programme for patients in Leeds called ‘Facing Forward’, which looks at the long-term effects of head and neck cancer and survivorship

If you have any questions about the team's work please email Macmillan Development Manager Karen Scott.