Samantha Westbrook has been appointed as the first peritoneal mesothelioma clinical nurse specialist in the UK.
The new post has been funded by the charity Mesothelioma UK and will be based at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, which is part of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
“My appointment will enable me to fully support peritoneal mesothelioma patients”
Ms Westbrook will work alongside the peritoneal malignancy multidisciplinary team to support, advise and signpost peritoneal mesothelioma patients and their families from across the UK.
Her work will help to deliver the most effective treatment – including surgical options – as well as care and awareness of available benefits, said the charity.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is the less common form of the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma. It causes the peritoneum – lining of the abdomen – to thicken and fluid to collect in ascites that cause the abdomen to swell.
Prior to joining Mesothelioma UK, Ms Westbrook worked as a lung cancer nurse for five years at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, dealing with oncology and pleural mesothelioma cases.
“Appointing Samantha into this post is a major step that we are delighted to reach”
Before that she was based at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, where she worked in critical care for seven years in a role that developed into being practice educator for the unit.
Commenting on her new role, she said: “I’m bringing experience in critical care, lung cancer and oncology to this new role and am really looking forward to specialising in this particular area.
“My appointment will enable me to fully support peritoneal mesothelioma patients in a ‘key worker’ capacity to ensure that they get the best attention possible,” said Ms Westbrook.
She added: “I’m also interested in looking at the research side of the patient diagnosis and journey, and seeing how this data can help to influence my role and our approach to treating Peritoneal Mesothelioma over time.”
Julie Dawes, chief nurse at Hampshire Hospitals, said: “We are delighted to have been able to appoint Samantha to this new role and we are very grateful to Mesothelioma UK for providing the funding to make it happen.
“Having the UK’s first specialist nurse in this particular form of cancer will make a big difference not only for patients in Hampshire, but across the entire country,” she said.
Liz Darlison, Mesothelioma UK’s head of services, said the charity was committed to doing all it could to improve services and access to treatment for those affected by peritoneal form of the condition.
“Appointing Samantha into this post is a major step that we are delighted to reach,” she said.
She added: “Samantha will be working closely with the charity’s team of 20 nurses who are based all over the UK to ensure, regardless of where you live, if you are affected by peritoneal mesothelioma you will have access to the best treatment and care available.”