Positive direction of travel for North Cancer Alliance

SIDE Positive direction of travel for North Cancer Alliance - logos

The North Cancer Alliance has welcomed Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s review of the quality of cancer care in the north of Scotland which recognises the improvements which have been achieved in the regional cancer network.

The recently-established North Cancer Alliance (NCA), which covers the three cancer centres in NHS Grampian, NHS Highland and NHS Tayside, coordinates cancer services for patients from across the whole of the north of Scotland.

The HIS report states that the leadership team within the Alliance, from the cancer clinicians to the chief executives, is fully focused on bringing together the six NHS Boards in the region to develop and deliver improvements in cancer services.

The review also found that the three cancer centres have already demonstrated a strong commitment to working more closely together and are making efforts to involve patients to learn about their experiences of cancer care. The Alliance strongly believes that it is by listening to and learning from patient experiences that they can make the right kinds of changes to pathways of care to further improve patient outcomes.

Key areas of good practice identified in the review findings include:

  • NHS Grampian is collaborating with partner agencies and the third sector in the ongoing development of a patient website which aims to provide people directly affected by cancer, their carers and friends, and professionals, with guidance and information about the wide range of non-medical support and information available to them through many different organisations.
  • NHS Highland has dedicated patient accommodation in Raigmore Hospital in Inverness which means patients, especially those who have to travel some distance to the cancer centre, can stay the day before elective procedures and, if required, stay following day surgery. This enhances the patient experience and is a service which is centred on the patient and their family.
  • NHS Tayside has an open access assessment clinic for breast cancer which allows patients to have all of their pre-surgery assessments in a single day. This is using resources much more efficiently and making sure patients only have to make the one trip to have all of the necessary checks and tests.

SIDE Positive direction of travel for North Cancer Alliance

Welcoming the report, North Cancer Alliance Chair Grant Archibald said, “The leaders of the six Health Boards across the north of Scotland have fully committed to the Alliance and collectively we are absolutely determined to strengthen our network and make a real difference to patients and their families.

“On their review visits, the Healthcare Improvement Scotland team spoke to many individual clinicians and clinical teams from the three cancer centres. Today’s report acknowledges that the clinicians were unanimous in their ambition to see all patients receive consistently high-quality care regardless of which unit or service they access.

“The North Cancer Alliance is actively connecting clinical teams across all three cancer centres in a more coordinated way as we know that there are many benefits to working in this way in terms of how effective and efficient services are. However, the quality of the care and treatment, the experiences of patients and their families, and designing services which are truly centred around people remain fundamental to our vision and approach.

“We do acknowledge that there are still a number of challenges in delivering cancer services across the north of Scotland – and we are addressing these together. The efforts of our lead clinicians in driving improvements by embracing the new, more joined-up approach means that patients are already experiencing the benefits of this in their treatment and care.

“On behalf of the Alliance, I would like to pay tribute to the hard work and commitment of the frontline teams who are delivering high quality care and support, all with the ambition that they want to improve services even further.”

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