Partnership working is at the heart of a new chemotherapy service launched recently for patients at Ashford Hospital, Middlesex. As part of a joint project between Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals and The Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts – who plan to merge next year – patients living around Ashford Hospital are able to receive chemotherapy locally rather than having to travel to specialist centres, for example in Guildford or London.

Macmillan Lead Nurse for Cancer and Palliative Care at Ashford & St Peter’s Hospitals, Sarah Burton, explains more: “Traditionally patients from the Ashford area would have to travel to Guildford (St Luke’s) around the M25 or into London for their treatment, with expensive travel costs. Facing these journeys when you are receiving chemotherapy is tough; being able to offer the same service that is provided at a specialist cancer centre on your doorstep can make a real difference to patients having to cope with difficult and stressful treatments. This joint service means we can bring the expertise of the specialist oncologists from The Royal Surrey County Hospital to Ashford Hospital, where patients are able to receive their treatments supported by our own specialist nursing team.

The project has started with breast cancer patients; now that this is up and running well, we plan to widen the service out to other tumour groups, starting with lung cancer. We’ve already had really positive feedback from patients who appreciate being able to see the specialist oncologists – who come to Ashford to do their follow-up clinics – at their local hospital, with the added support and continuity of our specialist nurses.”

The chemotherapy is administered in the new infusion suite at Ashford Hospital by members of the specialist nursing team; the suite, which was opened just under two years ago, is a purpose built facility kitted out with the latest high tech equipment needed to deliver complex treatments.

Chief Executive of Ashford & St Peter’s, Suzanne Rankin says: “This project marks an important milestone in the development of our joint clinical vision between Ashford & St Peter’s Hospitals and The Royal Surrey County Hospital. Not only does it mark an exciting future for Ashford Hospital, by bringing together our respective expertise and talents we can offer tangible benefits to patients right across West Surrey. Through the merger we want to develop Ashford Hospital as a planned surgery and diagnostic centre where we can expand treatments and outpatient care for people with cancer, including further chemotherapy services and even radiotherapy.”

 

L to R: Peter Dunt, Chairman The Royal Surrey County Hospital (RSCH), Heather Caudle, Chief Nurse Ashford & St Peter’s (ASPH), Aileen McLeish, Chair ASPH, Charlotte Freeman RSCH, Carole Redfern RSCH, Dr David Fluck, Medical Director ASPH, Sarah Burton, Macmillan Lead Nurse for Cancer and Palliative Care ASPH, Carey Harnetty ASPH, Faithe Cockroft, ASPH, Nick Moberly, Chief Executive RSCH and Suzanne Rankin, Chief Executive ASPH.

 

Nick Moberly, Chief Executive at The Royal Surrey County Hospital, attending the launch last week added: “I am delighted to see the results of our partnership and impressed by what we are able to do for patients in this part of Surrey. This joint service is a real testament to what we can achieve together and sets the bar high for our developing plans as we move closer to merging our two successful Foundation Trusts.”

Work is progressing on the merger between Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals and The Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts, with the earliest go-live date set at June 2015. This will be dependent on a number of regulatory approvals and the Trusts’ own detailed implementation plans.

 

The top picture shows Specialist Nurse Emma Bond, who was instrumental in helping to set up the project, describing the service to ASPH Trust Chair Aileen McLeish and Chief Nurse Heather Caudle