Eight new specialist cancer care posts have been created at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust thanks to partnership funding from Macmillan Cancer Support.
More than £824,000 is being invested to ensure patients receive the most advanced cancer care with access to specialist nurses every step of the way.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic cancer treatment has remained an absolute priority and the new posts will help to make sure patients continue to have the support and care they need.
Six new permanent posts and two pilot roles are now being created to work across The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton. These include:
- Two lung cancer specialist nurses
- Cancer care coordinator – upper gastrointestinal
- Cancer care coordinator – urology
- Urology specialist nurse
- Secondary breast cancer specialist nurse
- Cancer care coordinator – malignancy of unknown origin (pilot for two years)
- Specialist nurse – malignancy of unknown origin (pilot for two years)
Giving patients the best experience
“The impact that this is going to make for patients and the boost that it gives staff is massive,” said Pauline Sturdy, the trust’s cancer transformation lead nurse.
“These exciting new roles will allow our teams to continue to develop new ideas, services and opportunities to ensure that patients and their friends or families have the best experience they can possibly have.”
Laura Ashurst, who has lived with breast cancer for more than 20 years, welcomed the huge investment in the future of cancer care, particularly the introduction of a specialist nurse specifically for patients with recurring breast cancer.
“Secondary breast cancer is incurable, but with the help of secondary breast cancer drugs and specialised professional nursing care, people like me can be supported to live well with the time that we have left,” she said.
The application for funding was based on patient feedback and clinical need and was championed by the trust’s former lead nurse, Nicola Hand and the trust’s Macmillan transformation lead for cancer, Carol Taylor.
Nicola said: “The day Macmillan rang to tell us that we had been successful in our application we were so overwhelmed. There were a few happy tears shed – and not just from me!
“This is such a huge contribution and continues our successful working relationship with Macmillan Cancer Support.”
The trust’s new lead cancer nurse, Julie Lamb said: “I am delighted to be a part of the South Tees team and look forward to developing the cancer nursing roles that Macmillan have supported us with. I am very grateful that Macmillan have recognised and supported the trust’s ambition to provide expert care to our cancer patients.
“As a trust we are committed to our cancer patients and the ongoing development of our cancer nursing workforce to support this.
"Macmillan have also supported us with two development posts to support the education and training of nurses aspiring to become cancer nurses of the future.”
Kieran Conaty, partnership manager for Durham, Darlington and Teesside for Macmillan Cancer Support said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, developing services together to improve outcomes for people living with cancer.
“These are much needed posts that will help the trust deliver true personalised care for their patients and will have an immediate and positive impact on people affected by cancer in the region.”
New internship programme
In a further boost to cancer care, the trust is also piloting a new internship programme which offers specialist cancer training to nurses already working across its hospitals.
This has been made possible thanks to a £50,000 grant from Health Education England and places are already being advertised internally.
It is hoped some of the successful candidates will aspire to become specialist cancer nurses in the future, but everyone who completes the programme will take back a better understanding of cancer to share with their wards and departments.