The specialist team that treats patients with urological cancers (such as cancer of the bladder, kidney and prostate) at Epsom and St Helier hospitals is set to be bolstered thanks to a £326,000 grant from Macmillan Cancer Support.
The number of people referred to the hospitals’ urology service for suspected cancer has increased by 32% since December 2013, and last year the team received a record 1,654 referrals. Of those people with suspected cancer, on average, one patient a day is diagnosed with a urological cancer at Epsom and St Helier hospitals.
Hilary Hollis, Head of Nursing for Clinical Services and Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse, explained: “Urology is one of our busiest areas for referrals and, as a result of high profile awareness campaigns and the opening of our new state-of-the-art Urology Centre at Epsom Hospital last year, the demand on the service continues to grow.
“We have already increased the number of consultants in the team and now, thanks to the grant we have secured from Macmillan, we are also increasing the number of specialist nurses, as well as introducing a new support worker role. Growing our specialist team will help make sure we manage the additional demand on the service and that we continue to provide our patients with the best possible care.”
The additional nursing staff means that patients will have a specialist nurse with them throughout their care with us – from diagnosis, right through their treatment programme. Hilary said: “For people diagnosed with a urological cancer, there are potentially a lot of longer-term implications or side effects from treatment, so having that further nursing resource will make sure they receive the specialist support they need from day one.
“We are also really pleased to be introducing the support worker role, something which is quite new to our cancer services. The support worker will help co-ordinate the patients complex cancer pathway and will act as a liaison, helping to tie together all the different elements of care and making sure things run as smoothly as possible.”
The funding from Macmillan has been agreed for two years, and recruitment to the new posts is currently underway, with the team expected to be at full strength in the New Year. Deputy Chief Executive and Joint Medical Director Dr Ruth Charlton said: “Securing this grant from Macmillan Cancer Support is fantastic news, both for our patients and our Urology Team. It is incredibly important that we are able to see people referred to us in a timely way, and that those who need it are able to start treatment as quickly as possible.
“We are very proud of our urology service, and this latest development will help make a real difference to our patients.”