Cancer patients are benefitting from an innovative service thought of by nursing staff at a specialist centre on Merseyside, which has cut waiting times and simplified their appointments for treatment.
The “rapid chemotherapy chair” was the idea of nurses on the Delamere Ward Day Case Unit at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust.
“Sometimes the best ideas are the simple ones”
It sees patients receiving oral chemotherapy and sub-cutaneous treatments like trastuzumab (Herceptin), as well as bisphosphonates for bone fracture prevention, in a purpose built area of the ward while sitting in a chair.
It enables a specially-trained nurse to deliver the drugs – most commonly for breast, prostate or colorectal cancers – to up to 15 patients a day. The nurse also books in their next appointment.
In addition, the service frees up bays for patients whose treatment is more complex and takes longer, noted the trust.
It described it as a simple solution that has transformed patient experience. For example, waiting times at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre have seen big improvements.
Nurse-led chemo innovation aids patient experience
Before the service was introduced, 59% of all patients were seen within 30 minutes. The figure has now increased to an average of between 80% and 90%.
Ward manager Fiona Courtnell said: “Sometimes the best ideas are the simple ones. The rapid chemotherapy chair is good for patients and staff.
“It means people coming here for oral treatments can be seen much more quickly,” she said. “That improves their experience and also improves the experience of the patients who need more time on the ward.
“We introduced the chair in April last year and have seen a real change as a result. This is a change that has been sustained,” she added.
The service has now been rolled out to the trust’s other sites at the Linda McCartney Centre in Liverpool, Southport Hospital and the Marina Dalglish Centre, Aintree.
It will also be rolled out to all satellite treatment clinics in future.
Patients using the service say they have benefitted from the rapid chair and the reduced waiting times, said the trust.