Services for people living with and beyond cancer in Lincolnshire are set to be transformed by a project being launched across the county.
The Living With and Beyond Cancer programme is designed to change services available to cancer patients and their families for the better.
It will look to improve support and information services in hospitals, ensure the services anyone diagnosed with cancer might need are available in the community and making sure patients and their families have reliable sources of information at a variety of locations including hospitals, workplaces and GP surgeries.
The project is being led by NHS Lincolnshire West Clinical Commissioning Group and Macmillan Cancer Support has funded the programme development manager’s post for three years.
Kathie Longbone, who is leading the programme, said she was excited about the possibilities for the programme.
She said: “This time last year, we started out with the ambition of wanting to transform the way people received the life changing news of a cancer diagnosis and how they were supported through their cancer journey and beyond.
“We want to make sure services are in place for patients and their families to give them the kind of support that they need outside of their diagnosis and treatment, that reliable information is readily available at a variety of locations and from several sources and that all medical records and treatment history is shared appropriately and promptly between those in acute care and primary care.
“We developed a framework for the programme through steering groups and feedback from about 400 people across the county. We have now developed our strategy which plots out the way forward for our programme.
“We have identified three main projects to take us forward over the next two years.
“The first will look at rolling out what’s called the Recovery Package in hospitals and acute care. This will involve a holistic needs assessment to identify the needs of a patient to help them live with and beyond their cancer diagnosis.
“It will also make sure full treatment summaries are sent to the patient’s GP during and after treatment as well as making sure the patient is fully aware of what follow up appointments will involve and why they need to keep seeing clinicians.
“A similar project will also work in the community. This will start off in Gainsborough to join up with other work going on there around primary care, but with the view of rolling it out across the county.
“The project aims to find out what people need within the community to live with and beyond cancer and to ensure they can be referred to existing services or services that are being developed by other organisations or volunteers.
“The final project will work on making sure reliable sources of information are always available for cancer patients.”
Ms Longbone said that while it is widely known there are brilliant staff and support services already out there for cancer patients, they face the same problems that the whole NHS is facing such as stretched resources.
The project will be rolled out across the county, aiming to join up existing services with potential new ones and making sure nobody drops out of the system at any point to make their experience of living with cancer as easy as it possibly can be.