Triple recognition for Clatterbridge teams

The Clatterbridge NHS Foundation Trust Palliative Care Team

TEAMS from The Clatterbridge NHS Foundation Trust have been shortlisted three times in a top award for excellent patient care.

Staff from the centre’s Palliative Care, Enhanced Supportive Care and Radiotherapy teams have reached the finals of the prestigious HSJ Value Awards 2021 after their projects for redesigning specialist services were picked out of hundreds of entries.

The Palliative Care team created a new specialist nurse role, dedicated to providing symptom control and emotional and practical support of people with life-limiting cancer, cutting the length of time they spent in A&E when they needed urgent care and helping them stay out of hospital.

The new service has been welcomed by patients. One commented: “The specialist palliative care team have been absolutely outstanding, ensuring I understood what was happening and if I was happy with the plans that they had for me. I don’t think you could improve on what is already an outstanding team.”

Dr Dan Monnery, Consultant in Palliative Care at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and clinical lead for the service, said: “We are overjoyed that the judges have singled out our initiative which has helped to keep our patients stay safe during the pandemic. The spin-off has been better patient care and reduced the need for people to be admitted to hospital.

“It is thanks to an excellent team who have made this project so successful and our Clinical Decisions Unit, which has been such a willing partner in making it work so well.”

The Radiotherapy team improved care for patients with pacemakers and other implanted heart devices by reducing waiting times and improving safety in a joint project with the Liverpool Heart and Chest Foundation Trust (LHCH).

Patients with these heart devices need additional checks before and during radiotherapy. This was previously done by doctors but a number of the Radiotherapy Advanced and Expert Practitioners received specialised training in cardiac monitoring which means patients can now have their checks without needing to wait for a doctor. 

One patient stated: “The radiographers had everything under control. I never felt any worries during the treatment and it never caused me any delay. All my thanks to the team.”

Head of Radiotherapy Kieran Woods said: “This initiative has resulted in a much better experience of radiotherapy for this particular group of patients and we are really pleased that the judges have recognised this. I’d like to thank our fantastic team for their hard work and dedication on this project, which has successfully met all of the aims it set out to achieve.”

The third project highlighted the benefits of Enhanced Supportive Care (ESC) for people with life-limiting cancer in an initiative with Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and the NHS England Specialised Commissioning Improving Value Team.

ESC helps people living with advanced cancer to stay healthier for longer and have a better quality of life by providing personalised advice and support, such as nutrition, wellbeing and managing pain.

Patients receiving ESC have lived longer and enjoyed a better quality of life during their treatment. They also remain healthier while being cared for so the service – which is being extended nationally – saves money for the NHS.

One patient said of the service: “With their support and advice, we have been able to adapt and make the most of the family time we have. Without the ESC team I doubt we would have coped so well.”

Dr Monnery said: “ESC is one of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre’s biggest successes of recent times in palliative care and is now being rolled out across the country. This project highlights the huge contribution it is making to patient outcomes while at the same time reducing demand on services.

“The fabulous ESC team here are pioneers in this important area of care and we are all extremely proud to be shortlisted for this award.”

HSJ editor Alastair McLellan congratulated the three teams, saying: “This year’s finalists have not only contributed to the continued fight against the COVID-19 pandemic within the NHS but have also been exceptionally dedicated to enhancing healthcare across the UK.”

The winners will be selected following the second stage of judging ahead of the HSJ Value Awards 2021 awards ceremony to be held in Manchester in June.