In a world leading move, quality of life for cancer patients will be tracked as part of ambitious plans by NHS England to radically improve care and support for people once treatment ends.
The ground-breaking new approach is set to drive improvements in after care which includes personalised plans for people with cancer outlining not only their physical needs, but also other support they may need, such as help at home or financial advice.
The latest national survey shows the vast majority of people with cancer are really positive about the NHS care they receive, but there is currently no measure to assess how well patients are supported after treatment.
The new ‘quality of life metric’, which is the first of its kind, will use questionnaires to measure how effective this support is and the data will be made available on My NHS – helping patients, the public, clinicians and health service providers see how well their local after cancer care support is doing.
The first five pilot areas where patients will benefit from this new approach were announced at the Health and Care Innovation Expo 2017 last month.
Professor Chris Harrison, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Cancer, said:“Cancer survival rates are at a record high, with latest data showing an estimated 7,000 more people surviving cancer after NHS treatment compared with three years previous.
“One of our key ambitions is to put cancer patient experience front and centre. Everyone is unique, with different views and priorities, so it’s vital that they receive personalised support, this new measure will help ensure local NHS can see where things are going well and where improvements can be made.”
The pilot sites are below. They will run between September 2017 and early 2019.
Cheshire & Merseyside
- Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust
- St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Northern Cancer Alliance
- Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Northumbria NHS Trust
- The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
East of England
- Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust
North Central & North East London
- University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Barts Health NHS Trust
- University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
Work is also being undertaken to ensure patients are supported during their treatment and those patients who are most likely to need help once they’ve had treatment get the right follow-up support. This includes:
Care during and after cancer treatment – “Recovery Package”
The aim of the Recovery Package is to help ensure patients have more personal care and support from the point they are diagnosed. For a patient this means working with their clinician to develop a comprehensive plan outlining not only their physical needs, but also other support they may need, such as help at home or financial advice.
Care after cancer treatment
Once treatment is finished, it is vital that people continue to have the right care and support. This will be different for everyone and it is important to work with people to develop an appropriate plan to suit them, instead of a one size fits all approach where people are booked in for appointments at set time scales.
This could involve personalised follow up to individual needs and preferences – for some, more intensive clinical support is needed, but others may feel confident to take control and manage their own care, seeking support when needed.