We need to make sure we have enough staff with the right skills and support to achieve the ambitions for cancer care set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Nationally, an ambition has been set to recruit an additional 1,500 clinical and diagnostic staff across seven priority specialisms between 2018 and 2021; and provide all patients, including those with secondary cancers, with access to right expertise and support, including a clinical nurse specialist or other support worker.

Wessex Cancer Alliance is working with our partners to develop local workforce actions. This includes exploring apprenticeships to help increase the number of radiographers.

Cancer Support Workers

Wessex Cancer Alliance received national funding in 2018/19 for cancer support workers to help improve patient experience as part of an Improving Access to Cancer Nurse Specialists and Key Workers project.

In partnership with University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Southampton we employed cancer support workers in the gastrointestinal cancer nursing team, to support patients from around the time of diagnosis and throughout their treatment.

The project found the introduction of cancer support workers made a significant contribution to cancer-related supportive care, positively impacting on patient and staff experience. Wessex Cancer Alliance is now incorporating the recommendations from this project to further develop the cancer support worker workforce in our region.