The Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance is committed to driving forward improvements to ensure that every patient receiving a diagnosis of cancer receives the best possible experience of care and support.
The National Cancer Taskforce made recommendations aimed at giving patient experience measures the same level of priority as other outcome measures, such as survival. In Cheshire and Merseyside, we believe that the best way to do this is to have people affected by cancer working with us on every aspect of our delivery plan.
Developing a Strategy for User Involvement
Our Service User Involvement Manager is developing a service user and engagement strategy that ensures the voices of patients and carers are heard at every level, including at our Board. We will ensure that opportunities for people affected by cancer to be involved in the design and evaluation of new programmes of care are readily available, and that the impact of having meaningful user involvement is measured and understood.
Commitment to co-design
We know that services work best when the people who use them are involved from the beginning in their design. Examples of our work with service users to date include:
- The development of a “patient charter” for our Living With and Beyond Cancer programme
- Establishment of a Patient Experience Advisory Group
- Completion of a comprehensive quality of life study for people treated with radiotherapy for pelvic cancers
- Establishment of supported self-management workshops to enable people affected by breast, prostate or colorectal cancer to take control of their own recovery
- Taking part in the National Quality of Life Metric project – aiming to establish a process for measuring the long term impact of cancer and its treatment
Using data to improve Experience
The Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance uses data collected as part of the National Cancer Patient Experience survey to monitor the reported experience of care for our patients. We work with key professionals to develop action plans aimed at ensuring there is less variation in the experience of care reported in different localities, and across different cancer types.
We also collect local data to measure the impact of our programmes of care. Using evidence based tools to measure the benefit of health and wellbeing events will help us to develop an evidence base to secure future funding.
Digital access to health records
Our Alliance has been at the forefront of the introduction of online “patient portals”.
Working with colleagues at the University Hospital Southampton, we have introduced an online platform for patients to communicate with their health professionals, and receive the results of tests in a timely way. This has prevented numerous unnecessary hospital visits and also reduced waiting times to receive vital reassurance for many people.
Access to cancer “key workers”
Having access to a Clinical Nurse Specialist, or Cancer Support Worker can significantly reduce the anxiety and distress experienced by people receiving a cancer diagnosis. The Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance has already invested a significant amount in the development of Cancer Support Workers, whose role is to provide vital co-ordination and signposting for patients at critical points in their cancer pathway.
The successful introduction of this new role has been enhanced by a comprehensive training and development programme. This programme includes a competency framework which equips our support workers to provide advice, support and signposting to local services for rehabilitation and exercise with trained professionals.
Key achievements in Patient Experience for 2017/18