All patients in Scotland living with mesothelioma will be provided with a dedicated clinical nurse specialist under new plans to transform care.
The county has some of the highest rates in the world of mesothelioma, which is a type of cancer usually linked to exposure to asbestos.
“The network will gather mesothelioma specific patient information which will be used to audit the care provided”
Dr Kevin Blyth
In a bid to improve care, a new approach has been launched that will see all patients referred to the Scottish Mesothelioma Network.
The network is a comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of health professionals who will collaborate to share best practice and provide high quality clinical care, information and support to all patients with the disease, wherever they live in the country.
The new service will provide patients with a dedicated mesothelioma clinical nurse specialist, who will deliver enhanced support locally for patients and carers.
Patients will also have a dedicated mesothelioma lead clinician to improve clinical care and access to clinical trials.
Network staff, based in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Dundee and Aberdeen, will dial into a weekly multi-disciplinary team meeting to review all patients and feedback treatment and care options including clinical trial information.
Those behind the scheme hope it will speed up diagnosis and treatment of patients with mesothelioma wherever they live and ensure care is delivered as close to home as possible.
Charities Macmillan Cancer Support and Mesothelioma UK are working with local NHS boards across Scotland to fund and deliver this service.
Network lead Dr Kevin Blyth, consultant respiratory physician at the Queen Elizabeth in Glasgow, said: “The new service will provide a weekly forum for clinical teams from across Scotland to share expertise, develop high quality care plans, and provide increased access to potentially life-changing clinical trials to patients wherever they live in the country.
“It will also mean that all Scottish patients with mesothelioma will now get access to a dedicated mesothelioma clinical nurse specialist and evidence based, streamlined pathways of care will be developed.
“The network will gather mesothelioma specific patient information which will be used to audit the care provided so that continuous improvements can be made with the aim of improving outcomes and the quality of life of our patients.”
The new network also aims to build on existing links between acute services and charity support organisations to ensure that patients and their families across Scotland are being offered the most up-to-date benefits and legal advice, as well as emotional and practical support.