Louise Gilham has been appointed to a newly created mesothelioma clinical nurse specialist post to support patients across Kent.
The UK has the highest incidence of the deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos in the world, according to national charity Mesothelioma UK. It highlighted that there were around 178 patients diagnosed with mesothelioma in the Kent area during 2015-16.
“I’m truly passionate about improving care for mesothelioma patients”
Ms Gilham will be based at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Pembury, which forms part of the Kent Oncology Centre. The new post has been made possible through funding from Mesothelioma UK, with support from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.
In addition to clinical care, Ms Gilham will also support healthcare professional teams throughout Kent that are helping to optimise patient access to treatments and promoting clinical trials.
She completed her nurse training in Portsmouth and has been a nurse for almost 30 years. For the last 20 years, she has worked with lung cancer and mesothelioma patients.
In 2000, she successfully set up one of the first lung cancer clinical nurse specialist posts with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust before taking up the role of lead oncology nurse at Kent Oncology Centre.
Ms Gilham has also implemented nurse-led clinics for mesothelioma patients and is the chair of the Kent and Medway Lung Cancer Nurses Forum.
As an active member of the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses, she said she was determined to deliver improvements in the care and management of patients with mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Commenting on her new role, Ms Gilham said: “I’m delighted to join Mesothelioma UK’s dedicated team of clinical nurse specialists.
“I’m truly passionate about improving care for mesothelioma patients and have many years of experience to bring to this role including contributions to national practice guidelines,” she said.
“In addition to my clinical role, I’m looking forward to working with other agencies and charities to advise patients and carers on matters like welfare benefits and support groups,” said Ms Gilham.
Liz Darlison, Mesothelioma UK’s director of services and consultant Nurse at University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust, added: “I am delighted to welcome Louise to Mesothelioma UK, a passionate and dedicated team that is having a remarkable impact across the UK.
“With the significant number of mesothelioma patients in and around Kent, Louise will focus on patient care, encouraging more clinical trials and research to take place, and taking the lead to support and educate more people on all aspects of mesothelioma,” she said.