Cancer patients in Cheshire and Merseyside are receiving chemotherapy treatments in their homes and workplaces, thanks to a groundbreaking scheme from The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust.
Chemo is being provided at home in nearly five per cent of cases – and Clatterbridge is the first trust in the country to provide chemo in the workplace after support from the Innovation Agency.
Patients report that attending hospital for chemotherapy treatment can be challenging – many rely on public transport, which can be costly and time-consuming and some have to arrange care for children and other dependent relatives. For some patients with severe learning difficulties it can be stressful to leave the home environment.
The trust ran a trial of chemo at home with the support of the Innovation Agency, the Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast, who funded an extra nursing post. All patients in the trial who responded to a survey said they preferred treatment outside the hospital.
Home treatments started in 2015 and last year, Clatterbridge started delivering chemotherapy treatment in the workplace, the first trust in the UK to do so. The service has so far been delivered across 10 workplaces in Cheshire, Merseyside and Lancashire – including warehouses, offices, shops and cafes.
Rosemary Jones, who has received chemotherapy treatment at home, said: “Treatment at home is so much better. I know in advance when to expect the nurse. They also take blood samples the same day as the treatment, and ring me with the results.
“I can very easily fit treatments around my daily routine as I’m informed by the Home Treatment Office a week in advance whether my appointment will be in the morning or the afternoon.”
Research by the Royal College of Physicians estimated savings to the trust of £182 per treatment episode at home compared to in the hospital, resulting in total estimated savings of nearly £400,000 in one year.
Helen Poulter-Clark, Chief Pharmacist at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, said: “Chemotherapy in the community has been one of our big success stories, not only for patients but for staff as well.
“It’s part of a wider strategy – the more patients we treat at home, the more clinic capacity we have. We’ve also been the first cancer centre in the country to offer treatment at patients’ workplaces, and I’m really proud of that. Our patient satisfaction has been fantastic, and that’s the main reason we’re doing this.”
Dorothy Probert, Manager of Clatterbridge in the Community, said: “The aim of chemotherapy at home is to reduce the travelling time for patients. For nurses it’s an opportunity to work in a different environment.
“Job satisfaction is really important. Being able to see patients have their treatment in a place where they prefer to have it, either their home or workplace, is really satisfying.”
Dr Liz Mear, Chief Executive of the Innovation Agency, said: “The NHS Long Term Plan advocates providing more care closer to home. Clatterbridge Cancer Centre’s pioneering service shows how the trust has adapted to the needs of the community, providing a more satisfactory method of treatment for both patients and nursing staff. The results in terms of patient satisfaction and savings to the NHS speak for themselves.”
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Photo: Clatterbridge in the Community manager Dorothy Probert with patient Rosemary Jones