A new project has begun in Yorkshire that will offer 200 patients an opportunity to access support through a cancer care review nurse following funding from the charity Macmillan.
Sharon Huntley, a Macmillan clinical nurse specialist, has been appointed to provide clinical expertise for the 12-month project.
“There’s a general sense of shock and anxiety about what the future might hold”
She will be working with 200 cancer patients to identify a care plan so they can proactively self-manage their condition.
Patients taking part will have a one-off consultation with the nurse, who will work out what support they need to manage their own health and give advice on wider issues such as returning to work.
Regular reviews will also be available for patients who need further advice or support.
The project is part of a study to see whether a cancer care review service could be developed at a citywide level.
At the end of the project, an evaluation will take place to see if patients have greater confidence to self-care as well as how effective the service has been for health and care staff.
The scheme is open to patients at four GP practices in the Aireborough area – Menston and Guiseley Practice, Rawdon Surgery, Guiseley and Yeadon Medical Practice and Yeadon Tarn Medical Practice.
“The review will look at more than just medical support”
It is being carried out in partnership by Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group, Rawdon Surgery, Aire Valley Medical Group, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Patients who are on the Gold Standards Framework in Palliative Care, provided for those who have less than one year to live, will not be part of the scheme due to the existing support available.
Patients under the age of 25 will also not be eligible for the scheme as they have ongoing support from the teenage and young adults service based at the Leeds Cancer Centre.
Ahead of the start of the project Ms Huntley said “general sense of shock and anxiety” about the future meant some cancer patients felt vulnerable and fell out of healthy lifestyle routines.
“In addition, there’s wider concerns that need to be addressed such as how will people adjust at work or are there any additional financial worries,” she said.
”The review will look at more than just medical support and will link into community groups that could help patients,” said Ms Huntley who is based in the Leeds Cancer Centre at St James’s Hospital.
“The cancer care review is designed to help people establish a sense of normality to their lives and to encourage self-care but patients will be to contact me if they feel they need to,” she added.
After qualifying as a nurse in 1983, Ms Huntley worked in a surgical setting before specialising in cancer care with a particular expertise in supporting people with stomach or oesophageal cancers.