An innovative partnership has been forged to improve treatment and outcomes for cancer patients across Teesside, County Durham and North Yorkshire.
The Macmillan Integration of Cancer Care (MacICC) Programme – a collaboration between Macmillan Cancer Support, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and health and social care partners – looks at the whole patient journey from diagnosis and treatment to living with, and beyond, cancer.
A number of pioneering projects focussing on earlier diagnosis of the disease are being launched including:
- South Tees Optical Referral Project (STORP) – the first project of its kind in the country which allows Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland opticians to directly refer patients to the neurosciences team at The James Cook University Hospital if concerns are picked up during an eye examination.
- An open access chest X-ray clinic to aid the earlier diagnosis of lung cancer (in partnership with public health shared services and funded by South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group)
Consultant haematologist and the trust’s programme sponsor, Dr Angela Wood, said: “Through closer partnership working, this programme wants to make a real impact on various aspects of care across the whole patient journey – from diagnosis and treatment to living with and beyond cancer.”
Dawn Graham, senior Macmillan development manager, added: “This is all about improving patient experience by making adjustments to the system and better use of resources. It’s a key piece of work which should bring many benefits to local people affected by cancer. Macmillan Cancer Support is delighted to be working with our partners and looking forward to the programme’s continued progress in 2016.”
Alongside the MacICC programme, the trust has linked in with NHS England’s ‘Acceleration Co-ordination and Evaluation’ (ACE) initiative which looks at early cancer diagnosis.
STORP – the first project of its kind in the country – brings together Tees Local Ophthalmic Committee (LOC) and the neurosciences team at The James Cook University Hospital so opticians can directly refer patients to hospital if they have specific concerns following an eye examination rather than to a GP first.
Prof Philip Kane, consultant neurosurgeon and lead clinician for cancer at South Tees said: ‘This is an inspiring project which will lead to the earlier diagnosis and treatment of brain tumours.’
Carol Taylor, Macmillan programme manager at South Tees, agrees. She said: “This is a really exciting piece of work as it’s allowed us to work with a highly skilled group of professionals, with accessible, community based practices, fantastic facilities, state of the art equipment supporting earlier diagnosis of cancer.”
Julie Breen, chair of the Tees LOC, added: “I’m proud to say this is the first collaboration in the UK between community opticians and secondary hospital care to improve the patient journey outside of our natural, close relationship with the hospital eye department.
“It’s great to see the skills and equipment that opticians have on every High Street being used in this innovative way. The community optometrists are working very hard, as are all those involved from the South Tees Trust and Macmillan Integration of Cancer Care Programme, to make this a success.
“We all want to see the diagnosis and treatment of this rare but devastating group of conditions speeded up and to see many more people diagnosed with brain tumours surviving and recovering, as well as speedy detection of young stroke and TIA.”