More people than ever are living with and surviving cancer.
Personalised cancer care means providing patients with access to care and support that meets their individual needs – from the moment they receive their cancer diagnosis – so that they can live as full, healthy and active a life as possible.
This can include helping people to access financial, emotional, psychological and social support as well as providing them with information on managing their lifestyle, treatments and therapies available.
The NHS Long Term Plan makes a commitment that:
- By 2021, where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer will have access to personalised care.
- By 2020 all breast cancer patients will have a personalised (stratified) follow-up pathway once their treatment ends, and by 2021 so will all prostate cancer and colorectal cancer patients.
- From 2021, the new quality of life metric will be used across England.
Personalised care and support planning
Wessex Cancer Alliance has made good progress in implementing personalised care and support planning in our area and we will build on this, working with primary and secondary care providers to ensure:
- All patients are offered a holistic needs assessment and care plan at key points in their cancer journey, and take steps to improve patient uptake of this offer.
- All patients are offered a cancer care review by their GP or practice nurse, providing them with the opportunity to discuss their cancer journey, make sure they have the right support in place, understand the services available to them and have an opportunity to ask questions.
- All patients and their GPs receive a treatment summary – a record of a person’s cancer treatment completed by the secondary care team at the end of treatment – in a timely manner.
Many of our partners are working alongside Macmillan Cancer Support to develop their personalised care packages, from nutritional advice and physical rehabilitation to counselling. There is a lot of work taking place to ensure packages are tailored to individuals and offered in a timely manner. Health and wellbeing events are also planned in many venues, to help raise awareness of the support available to cancer patients and their families.
The follow-up care each individual needs can depend on many factors including the level of risk associated with their cancer type, the effects of treatment, if they have any other health conditions and the level of professional involvement needed. Personalised (stratified) follow-up pathways ensure that at the end of treatment, patients will receive care that meets their needs.
For some people this may mean being supported to self-manage with fewer unnecessary face-to-face hospital appointments.; As well as freeing up patient time and reducing unnecessary travel to hospital, these stratified follow-up pathways also enable cancer teams to free up capacity to care for new cancer patients.
We have made significant progress in implementing personalised (stratified) follow-up pathways for breast, prostate and colorectal cancer patients in Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Dorset. We will build on this work over the coming months to ensure the pathways are fully implemented for breast, colorectal and prostate cancer care, and introduce this follow-up pathways for other cancer where it is clinically appropriate to do so.
Quality of life metric
Wessex Cancer Alliance is one of five cancer alliances nationally that piloted a new ‘quality of life metric’. The metric uses questionnaires to measure how how well patients are supported after treatment and the data is used to help patients, the public, clinicians and health service providers see how well their local after cancer care support is doing. Work is underway to prepare to launch the metric in 2020.
WesFit prehabilitation programme
Cancer patients who are physically fit before having surgery tend to have a better recovery.
Our Wessex Fit-4-Cancer Surgery trial, known as WesFit, has found patients can maintain or even increase their fitness before surgery by taking part in an exercise-programme in hospital. We are now testing delivering these prehabilitation exercise programmes in community gyms, and whether providing additional psychological support to prepare patients for surgery by improving their mental fitness is also helpful to recovery.
Macmillan Cancer Support “Right by You”
Wessex Cancer Alliance is a test site for Macmillan Cancer Support’s “Right by You”. The purpose is to develop and test an integrated approach to supporting patients across primary, community and acute care from the point they are diagnosed, throughout their cancer journey. Our vision is to build on the learning from this test to deliver care that is delivered by the right person, in the right place, at the right time, with services adopting a person-centred approach to cancer care.
Developing a Wessex cancer information portal
We have funded Dorset Cancer Partnership to develop an online resource for cancer patients in Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Dorset that will provide information on local cancer services, including a directory of services, as well as linking to information on specific cancers. The portal is in response to patient feedback that information on certain types of cancer and the different recovery packages and support groups is not easy to find. It will be available in 2020.