Report and supporting documentation attached.
The divisional manager at BHRUT confirmed that clarification had now been given to the providers of the A & E reception service around the use of red cards for patients undergoing chemotherapy. Posters regarding this had been placed in triage areas and a rolling training programme had been introduced to further raise awareness.
Any data on the experience of chemotherapy patients would have to be collected with the service provider – PELC and officers were happy to do this. There had not been any specific complaints about non-recognition by staff of the red cards and it was noted that not all patients who were eligible in fact showed the red card at A & E.
Whilst more patients were being treated at Sunflowers ward at Queen’s Hospital, the unit had extended its opening hours in order to accommodate this. It was not possible to use a bigger area on Queen’s for chemotherapy and officers added that patients often preferred to sit closely together during treatment in order to share experiences etc. Chairs for relatives were also available. Overall feedback from patients using the chemotherapy suite was good but it was accepted that nothing could be done about the lack of natural light in the facility although the introduction of fake skylights in part of the area had led to some improvement.
It was accepted that parking for cancer services was an issue, particularly whilst a clinical diagnostic unit had to be parked in part of the cancer services car park, following a fire. This had now been resolved and more patient parking was therefore available. All cancer patients were assessed for transport needs.
Options were being considered regarding the rebooking of oncology appointments but Members felt strongly that patients preferred to confirm their next appointment prior to leaving the department. Officers responded that whilst chemotherapy appointments were booked in fixed timeslots, outpatient were more fluid in nature. Any overbooking of lists was managed by consultants rather than receptionists.
Members remained unhappy at the lack of public consultation on the removal of chemotherapy services from King George Hospital. It was requested that an audit be supplied of the incidences of sepsis among chemotherapy patients and of the demand for chemotherapy services over the next ten years. Specific details of what the Committee required could be discussed with Trust officers after the meeting but it was agreed that forecasting methodology used to predict the demand for cancer services over the next 10 years should be brought to the next meeting of the Joint Committee. BHRUT officers responded that this would be picked up as part of the Trust’s clinical strategy although these figures may not be available by the next meeting of the Committee.
Officers added that chemotherapy patients could also access 24:7 support from oncology nurses which often avoided the need to attend A & E. It was accepted that there needed to be a broader diversity of users of the Cedar Centre and efforts were in progress to disseminate information on these services to patients. A refurbishment of the area was planned and the Trust wished for the Cedar Centre to be one of the best cancer hubs in the UK.
It was accepted that usage of the Cedar Centre was too low among several minority groups. Details of the friends and family test scores for cancer services could be supplied to the Committee although officers confirmed that BHRUT cancer services recorded one of the highest patient satisfaction scores in the Trust.
The Joint Committee agreed the updates and further information requested as outlined above and noted the position.