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Princess Alexandra pledges to improve services for local breast cancer patients

Health / Mon 25th May 2015 at 10:37am

THE Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust has signed up to leading charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s initiative to ensure services for local breast cancer patients are of high quality and provide the best possible experience.

Breakthrough’s Service Pledge for breast cancer was designed to enable hospitals to work with patients to identify what could improve treatment for them. Over the past year Princess Alexandra patients have been given the opportunity to provide their views on what matters most.

Julie Benewith, a patient from Buckhurst Hill said “The service I received overall was excellent. It was personal, caring, thoughtful and sensitive.

“After my treatment, I did give some feedback for improvement. Staff were receptive and open to comments and suggestions.”

Through questionnaires and workshops a range of improvements at the hospital have been identified which include:

Breast Care Nurses telephoning patients at home after their diagnosis appointment to ensure they have the opportunity to ask any further questions they may have and offer support. This is in addition to the one-to-one breast care nurse consultation at the time of diagnosis.

Providing patients with additional information and support for their partners and/or families. This included a patient personal diary sheet that the Breast Care Nurse and patient complete together recording diagnosis and treatment plans.

Setting up a breast cancer patient user group to support the hospital in reviewing and developing patient resources

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with around 50,000 women and 400 men diagnosed each year. Whilst breast care across the country is generally very good, there is always room for improvement.

Lynne Gimson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 and acts as a patient advocate for the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Service Pledge. She said: “I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity to draw on my own experience of this disease, working with people who are equally determined to ensure that every possible step is taken to improve services for future breast cancer patients.

“I’m delighted that, as a group, we were able to come up with some simple, but impactful, suggestions for change that are already being put in place.”

Since first launching in 2003, Breakthrough’s Service Pledge for breast cancer has revolutionised expectations for over 30,000 breast cancer patients at more than 60 hospitals across the UK.
On Wednesday 29 April 2015 The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust celebrated the launch of their Breakthrough Breast Cancer Service Pledge at St Margaret’s Hospital (SMH)* in Epping. Staff were joined by patients, representatives, clinicians, nursing staff and members of the management team.

Caroline Baya, Macmillan Specialist Breast Care Nurse, pictured middle with Catherine Wood, Senior Involvement Officer at Breakthrough Breast Cancer (left), and Claire Grainger, Lead Breast Care Nurse (right), said “It’s very exciting, positive and rewarding to be part of this worthwhile project.

“Firstly because it is patient driven, we want to respond to patient experiences and needs, second because it is a team project and initiative which has helped us grow and develop a high quality service we can sustain and build upon.”

Staff at SMH have been presented with a wall plaque to commemorate their achievement and on-going participation in the scheme.

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