Patients with cancer at Northampton General Hospital are being seen within the NHS target time thanks to service changes and improvements.
During December 2020, the latest confirmed performance figures, the hospital achieved seven of the key targets set by the NHS nationally to provide cancer care for patients.
The success is down to changes to pathways including adopting national pathways for Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Skin, straight to test or nurse led triage. This removes unnecessary outpatient appointments and accelerates pathways at the beginning of the patient journey.
This means cancer would be confirmed at an earlier stage and treatment can start sooner.
Hospital Chief Operating Officer Carl Holland said: “While the targets help to keep us on track we all know that this isn’t about the numbers. There is a patient behind every one of these figures who has had their cancer investigations and, if necessary, their treatment started promptly and efficiently.
“Achieving these targets during winter and in the middle of a pandemic is an incredible achievement and I am very proud of all involved. Our teams have risen to the challenge of making cancer services a priority and we hope we can continue to meet these targets and provide the best possible care for patients.”
In December 2020, 94.5% of patients referred to the hospital with suspected cancer were seen within the national two-week wait target, and 52% of those patients were seen in 7 days or less. This target means that patients are seen within two weeks or less of being referred to the hospital by their GP.
Following the initial diagnosis at NGH, 98.7% of patients received their first treatment within 31 days of diagnosis or decision to treat, exceeding the 96% target set for the hospital.
Stephanie Buckley, Directorate Manager in Cancer Services, said: “We’re really proud to have achieved these targets for our patients. It is fantastic to see how these changes are having a real impact on patient care, and how by working more closely with colleagues from all areas of the hospital we can improve care for our patients during a difficult time.
“It has taken a huge amount of collaborative work and drive from many clinical teams and specialists to get to this point. Everyone has pulled together to make cancer services their number one priority and provide these positive changes.
“We know that there is still more we want to achieve. There are a number of new pathways due to be launched soon and further improvements and developments planned to ensure cancer services improve for those who need them.”
Cancer services have been maintained by the hospital throughout the pandemic despite pressures on wider hospital services. Additional support has been provided for patients during the pandemic to help them feel safe and comfortable coming to the hospital site. This has included staff providing one-to-one support for patients and a direct contact line to clinical nurse specialists if they have any concerns or queries.
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