2 February 2016
From left: Sarah Delfont, Keith Mitchell, Tina Grose and Wendi Abraham
A pioneering project is working to improve the delivery of cancer follow-up care for people receiving treatment at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
The Living With and Beyond Cancer project, involving the hospital, FORCE Cancer Charity and Macmillan Cancer Support, aims to support people experiencing cancer and help them take back control of their lives.
Until recently, FORCE and the RD&E offered a range of practical information and support for people after finishing treatment. Now, thanks to patient feedback and in line with the Living With and Beyond Cancer project, information is available earlier through Health and Wellbeing clinics held fortnightly at the FORCE Support and Information Centre.
FORCE Lead Oncology Support Specialist Sarah Delfont, who helped design the clinics with Project Clinical Lead Keith Mitchell, says: 'The clinics deliver expert information and advice from clinicians, consultants and dietitians, as well as giving patients the opportunity to network with one another and share experiences.'
Additionally, Macmillan has provided funding for a project manager and a clinical project nurse to help people living with cancer from diagnosis through to their follow-up care.
Wendi Abraham, Macmillan Patient Pathway Redesign Project Manager, explains: 'The story of cancer is changing. People are living longer after their diagnosis than they did 40 years ago, so increasingly it is now about living with and beyond cancer. That means cancer follow-up care also needs to change.
'RD&E cancer patients will still experience the same quality of care. However, by providing a good range of information and advice soon after diagnosis we are empowering people to take a more active role in their care. Previously patients may have thought how will I survive this and now more than ever they are thinking how will I live with this?'
Tina Grose, Lead Cancer Nurse at the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, developed and championed the redesign project. She says: 'Over time, these new ways of working are collectively improving the experiences of people receiving cancer treatment at RD&E. None of these things would be possible without the collaborative efforts of FORCE, Macmillan Cancer Support and the RD&E.'
For further information, please contact Gwen Powell in the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust communications team on 01392 406941.