Eligible cancer patients undergoing treatment in Buckinghamshire are to attend clinics at their local community hub as a successful pilot scheme is rolled out during 2019.
The announcement comes as the first of the clinics opened for the first time on Wednesday 6th March 2019 at Thame Community Hub, which on its own may benefit at least 200 Buckinghamshire patients a year*.
Healthcare experts and current patients have said the move will have a positive impact on patients well being. With treatment available closer to home, they will avoid the cost and anxiety associated with parking fees and longer travel times to Wycombe or Stoke Mandeville hospitals.
The successful pilot started at Marlow Community Hub in August 2017, after which Macmillan Cancer Support provided £350,000 of charitable funds to expand the scheme throughout the county.
Amersham Hospital is expected to join Thame and Marlow in June 2019 as a community cancer treatment site.
Neil Macdonald, Chief Executive at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: ‘This partnership with Macmillan is great news for people with cancer in Buckinghamshire, who will be able to get the same expert care from our nursing teams, but in a hospital closer to their home.
Our clinical staff will be carefully managing the whole process so that patients will only be relocated to the community sites when we’re sure it’s safe to do so.‘
Shelley Orton, Macmillan Partnership Manager in Buckinghamshire, said: ‘Travelling long distances for cancer treatment can be stressful. Paying for fuel and parking, getting stuck in traffic on the way to appointments and having to regularly visit large hospitals all add to the worry and anxiety, when you should be able to just focus on getting better.
That’s why Macmillan has invested £350,000 with Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust to fund four staff members for two years so they can get this project going.‘
It’s expected the move will further improve patient experience by alleviating pressure in the units at Wycombe and Stoke Mandeville hospitals.
Initially, oral treatment and subcutaneous (under the skin) injections, as well as catheter line care (a catheter which stays in place throughout a course of treatment) and pre-treatment assessments will take place at the community hubs. Other types of treatment being may also be delivered there in future once they are established.
Further information about cancer can be found at macmillan.org.uk.
* : Figure derived from review of the Marlow pilot service: ‘Cancer Care Closer to Home – Marlow: Service Review Aug 2017 to June 2018‘.