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Cancer Alliance

Image of Dr Dan Cottingham sat in a GP office wearing a pink shirt, NHS lanyard and Macmillan name badge. Dan is wearing glasses and smiling. There is a computer screen and book shelf behind him.

Healthcare Professionals urge public to ‘help us help you’ by getting cancer symptoms checked and attending routine appointments

By | Cancer Alliance

Healthcare professionals across the Humber, Coast and Vale (HCV) region are appealing for the public to contact their GP if they are worried about a symptom that could be cancer, as new research found that nearly half (48%) of the public would delay or not seek medical help at all.

A fifth (22%) would not want to be a burden on the health service while a similar number said that fear of getting coronavirus or passing it onto others was a major reason for not getting help.

Health and care professionals from across the HCV region, have pulled out all the stops to keep cancer services going

Image of Dr Dan Cottingham sat in a GP office wearing a pink shirt, NHS lanyard and Macmillan name badge. Dan is wearing glasses and smiling. There is a computer screen and book shelf behind him.

Dr Dan Cottingham, CRUK GP Lead

throughout the pandemic, with over 90% of patients urgently referred being seen by a specialist within two weeks.

Dr Dan Cottingham, Cancer Research UK GP Lead for HCV Cancer Alliance said: “People should not hesitate to get help if they are worried about a symptom that may be cancer, such as:

  • unexplained blood that isn’t from an obvious injury
  • a lump
  • weight loss which feels significant
  • an unexplained pain that lasts three or more weeks

“Cancer is easier to treat when it’s caught at an earlier stage and we are asking members of the public to help us help you by coming forward for a check that could save your life.” Dr Stuart Baugh, Clinical Director for HCV Cancer Alliance said:

Image of Dr Stuart Baugh standing in front of a brick wall. Stuart is wearing a suit and is looking at the camera smiling.

“People who have already been invited for an appointment are encouraged to attend, whether that be a routine screening appointment, an invitation for treatment or an appointment with your GP.

“Healthcare providers have introduced a range of measures to ensure the safety of patients and staff, including the use of PPE, COVID-secure areas, and phone or virtual appointments.

“To highlight the measures that have been put in place at Trusts within the HCV region, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust have created virtual ‘walkthrough’ videos and patients are advised to watch the video or contact their medical team should they have any concerns about accessing NHS services during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust

Image shows two people sat on seperate benches, looking at each other whilst in conversation. They are surrounded by trees and grass.

Cancer Alliance News – Autumn 2020

By | Cancer Alliance

 Click here to read the latest edition of Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance News.

In this edition, we hear from Dr Stuart Baugh, Clinical Director of Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance as he outlines our plans for recovery and highlights the importance of attending hospital appointments when invited.

Find out about a new Quality of Life survey which launches in September, read about our new virtual Cancer Champion awareness sessions and discover our new online hub where those living with and beyond cancer, their friends and family, or anyone with questions or concerns about accessing NHS services can find useful, reliable and up to date information.

If you would like to feature in our next edition, please email comms.hcvcanceralliance@nhs.net[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Image of Dr Dan Cottingham sat in a GP office wearing a pink shirt, NHS lanyard and Macmillan name badge. Dan is wearing glasses and smiling. There is a computer screen and book shelf behind him.

Dr Dan Cottingham appointed Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance’s GP Lead

By | Cancer Alliance

Dr Dan Cottingham has been confirmed as the new CRUK GP Lead for Humber, Coast and Vale (HCV) Cancer Alliance.

The appointment of Dr Cottingham, Macmillan GP Cancer and End of Life Lead Vale of York CCG and partner at Sherburn Group Practice, will ensure primary care perspectives remain integral to Cancer Alliance strategic plans and pathway development.

Image of Dr Dan Cottingham who is the GP Lead for Cancer at Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance. The image shows Dan standing in front of a brick wall, wearing a shirt and tie. He is wearing glasses and is smiling.

By leading a strong network of primary care clinical leaders and engaging with wider GP communities from across the Alliance, Dr Cottingham will work collaboratively to support the ambitions of HCV Cancer Alliance, focussing on system wide transformations that improve patient outcomes.

Dr Cottingham said: “I’m thrilled to be working with the Alliance as GP Lead for Cancer within the Humber, Coast and Vale region.

“For years I’ve been passionate about patient led care and one of the key areas I’d like to drive forwards is ensuring the patient experience of cancer pathways is central to planning and decision-making within the Alliance.”

Infographic containing a blue backgroup and NHS Logo. There is a dark blue illustration of a phone with a speech bubble that says 'You're 10th in the queue.' The header reads 'no more hanging on the line' and the main body of text states, 'save yourself the wait and access GP practice services online. nhsonline.info.

No more waiting in line or on the line… patients can access GP services online in Humber, Coast and Vale

By | Cancer Alliance

Patients in Humber, Coast and Vale can access medical advice and help from their GP – without needing to visit their local GP practice in person or wait on the phone.

The free online GP practice service, which can be used at any time of the day, can save people time because it removes the need for them to make unnecessary phone calls or trips to their GP practice to request the help they need. The confidential online service can be used by anyone registered with a GP practice and is accessible via smartphone, tablet or computer.

Patients using the service will be able to:

  • Seek medical advice about a new problem or an ongoing issue
  • Take part in an online consultation
  • Order repeat prescriptions
  • Manage appointments
  • Request test results
  • Request GP letters and ‘fit for work’ notes

To access the online service, patients can visit their GP practice website and follow the simple instructions. They can use the search tool at nhsonline.info to find their GP practice website and more information about GP online services.

Dr Nigel Wells, a GP and Clinical Lead for the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership, said:

“The free GP practice online service gives patients much more flexibility and choice in how and when they access healthcare.

“People with busy lives often struggle to find the time to contact their GP practice to request help, so this service offers them the convenience of accessing GP services online, at a time that suits them.

“This means patients can avoid unnecessary trips to their GP practice for non-urgent health issues, and they won’t need to spend time waiting on the phone, as requesting medical advice and administrative tasks such as managing repeat prescriptions and getting test results can now be managed online.

“This service does not replace face-to-face appointments, which will continue to be available for anyone who needs them. By people accessing services online when it’s appropriate to do so, it frees up face-to-face GP appointments for those people who really need them.”

Infographic containing a blue backgroup and NHS Logo. There is a dark blue illustration of a phone with a speech bubble that says 'You're 10th in the queue.' The header reads 'no more hanging on the line' and the main body of text states, 'save yourself the wait and access GP practice services online. nhsonline.info.

For patients requesting online consultations, symptoms can be submitted via a simple online form. They will then get a response from their GP practice within 1-2 working days. This could be via email, phone or video call.

The response from your GP surgery could include medical advice, the offer of a face-to-face appointment or referral to another health service, such as your local pharmacy.

You should contact the NHS 111 service if you require urgent medical attention, or call 999 or visit your nearest A&E department in an emergency.

To access the GP online service, visit your GP practice website.

You can use the search tool at nhsonline.info to find your GP practice website and find out more about GP online services.

New Rapid Diagnostic Centre continues to assess patients during Covid-19 pandemic

By | Cancer Alliance, Diagnostics

A new service launched in January for patients with symptoms that are cause for concern but do not meet the criteria for urgent referral for cancer, has continued to assess patients despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new Rapid Diagnosis Centre (RDC) for suspected cancer is clinically led by James Turvill from Gastroenterology and James Haselden from Radiology.

James Turvill said: “When a patient goes to their GP with symptoms such as unexplained and unintentional weight loss, unexplained loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, bloating or vague abdominal or unexpected or progressive pain, the GP often has a ‘gut feeling’ of a possible cancer diagnosis.

“Unfortunately, in the NHS system is there is no clear referral pathway for patients with serious non-specific but concerning symptoms unless patients have findings that meet the two week criteria for a site specific urgent referral pathway for cancer.

“The rapid diagnostic one stop clinic is an exciting breakthrough for the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and fantastic news for patients who visit their GP with worrying symptoms.”

The early diagnosis initiative involves two Primary Care Networks consisting of 11 GP practices to test and refine the new pathway. Spencer Robinson, Improvement Lead for the rapid diagnosis centre, designed the new service.

Spencer said: “We are very proud to have developed this new cancer pathway from scratch and launched it on time.

“Unfortunately circumstances have changed and we have had to modify the service for a period of time in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are still accepting referrals but the ‘one stop approach’ is suspended due to limited access to endoscopy and CT scans.

“Patients are still being assessed and if they are emergency or a high risk are offered diagnostic tests followed by a video or telephone consultation with the RDC consultant regarding outcome and next steps.

A man photographed from the chest up, wearing a blue shirt, brown blazer, blue tie and black thick-framed glasses. He has some grey stubble and is standing in front of a brick wall that is slightly out of focus.

“Low risk patients are supported by the RDC Coordinator and RDC Advanced Nurse Practitioner via telephone with six weekly follow up telephone assessments to reassess their symptoms.”

The centre is supported by Cancer Care Coordinator, Laura Brett and Cancer Nurse Specialist Jo Clark.

Laura said: “The patients we have had through the pathway so far have found the one stop approach to be really valuable, even though it has been a long day for them. We are looking forward to being able to resume the full service. The most rewarding part of my role is getting to meet our patients and provide any support they need throughout the RDC pathway.”

Cancer Nurse Specialist Jo Clark has been working with patients with cancer for over ten years.

Jo said: “The RDC pathway is personalised, reduces unnecessary appointments and tests and improves delays in diagnosis. I have seen the effects that waiting for tests and results can have on patients so improving this part of the patients journey is such a positive step. Even though we are limited  by the current circumstances, we discuss and review the patient’s pathway frequently to make sure we are supporting  them the best way we can through this difficult journey.”

Mikki Golodnitski, Programme Lead for Diagnostics at Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance (HCV CA) has supported the development of RDCs at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and said:

“Over the last 12 months, the HCV CA Diagnostic team have worked in collaboration with York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to pilot a full RDC Pathway for patients with serious non-specific symptoms within Humber, Coast and Vale region.

“RDC pathways support the Alliance’s overarching ambition of achieving faster diagnosis for patients and we are delighted that the York RDC team have managed to effectively adapt their services in order to maintain its benefits to patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Alliance continues to work with stakeholders in each locality to build on work that has already commenced to embed the RDC principles and pathways across the Humber, Coast and Vale region.”

To find out how Cancer Alliances are driving force for change, providing dedicated focus and capacity to deliver improvements in cancer outcomes locally, please click here.

Help us help you stay safe in hospital

By | Cancer Alliance

Hospital trusts across Humber, Coast and Vale region have been working hard to respond to the coronavirus pandemic to ensure the safety and quality of services for cancer patients.

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are putting arrangements in place to maintain capacity and provide high quality services for COVID-19 patients whilst cautiously increasing other urgent clinical services, important diagnostics, and surgery.

Dr Stuart Baugh, Clinical Director for Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance wants to reassure those patients who may be worried about coming into hospital at this time, that everything is being done to ensure patients’ safety and to support patients to understand what they should do when accessing services:

“Like the rest of the NHS, our number one priority for the last few months has been ensuring that all those who need urgent care – not only those with coronavirus – have been able to get it when they need it.

We will continue to ask patients to attend hospital only when it is really necessary. Where possible, appointments may be through video or over the phone.

If you are required to come to hospital you will be asked to take steps that reduce the risk of coronavirus being spread to staff and other patients.

This may include isolating at home for 14 days before admission for planned care (including day surgery), and only attending outpatient appointments if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus.”

“The health and wellbeing of all staff and patients remains our highest priority as we work to increase critical non COVID-19 services, and new ways of working are being put in place to ensure that our focus on safety remains.”

A national framework on reducing the transmission of COVID-19 in hospitals has been published by NHS England and NHS Improvement. Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance are working with local trusts to finalise an implementation plan for what that means for how we run cancer services across the region.

The priority is to minimise the transmission rate for the virus, with the aim of getting as close to zero as possible.

Zoe, Humber, Coast and Vale's Project Officer.

Shielding during Covid-19

By | Cancer Alliance

Updated Shielding Advice – 1st June 2020

The government has updated its guidance for people who are shielding. People who are shielding remain vulnerable and should contain to take precautions but can now leave their home if they wish, as long as they are able to maintain social distancing.  For up-to-date guidance, please click here.  

Over the last few weeks, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from Covid-19, including around 200,00 cancer patients, have received a letter from the NHS advising them to stay at home until at least the end of June to minimise their risk of infection.

Zoe Bounds, Project Officer at Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance, received her letter on 7th April and has now been shielding for five weeks. Having had a first hand experience of shielding and needing to access NHS services during the coronavirus pandemic, Zoe is sharing her top tips for shielding and encourages anyone experiencing symptoms of cancer not to delay contacting their GP.

Zoe’s top tips whilst shielding during the coronavirus pandemic:

Whilst shielding, Zoe needed to contact her GP after becoming concerned about a potential symptom of cancer:

A few weeks into shielding, I experienced some pain and symptoms that could have been linked to cancer and particularly with my history of cancer, I wanted to get them checked out.

Worried about the risk of infection, Zoe was anxious to attend a GP appointment but after being reassured by the measures that had been put in place, Zoe is now urging others to contact their GP if they are experiencing signs and symptoms of cancer:

For the latest information and shielding guidance, please visit gov.uk.

If you or someone you know is shielding at home because of coronavirus, you can request support from NHS Volunteer Responders.

An image of Dan Cottingham, Cancer and End of Life Lead at NHS Vale of York

70% drop in Vale of York Cancer referrals as doctors urge people to visit their GP

By | Awareness and Early Diagnosis, Cancer Alliance, Diagnostics | No Comments

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and GP Practices from the Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance are working together to ensure cancer services continue safely, urging people not to delay seeking help if they notice any signs and symptoms of cancer.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, across the Vale of York, there has been a 70% reduction in two-week referrals from GP practices to secondary care. A statistic which is extremely worrying to health professionals as they witness fewer patients making appointments to express their health concerns.

Dr Dan Cottingham, Cancer and End of Life Lead at NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group said:

Cancer hasn’t gone away because of coronavirus. There will still be people in our community experiencing signs and symptoms of cancer such as the sudden appearance of a lump, blood in their urine, or a change to usual bowel habits - and so it is vital these people contact their GP practice so a doctor can investigate and refer to a specialist if necessary.

GP appointments are still available for patients to talk through any concerns over the phone or via an online video consultation, and are working closely with cancer specialist teams at York and Scarborough hospitals to ensure urgent cases continue to be seen promptly.”

Accessing a GP has changed during the pandemic but GP practices are continuing to provide the same safe care they always have done.

People who are referred into York hospital for treatment or who are already on a course of treatment can expect the same quality of care, the way that care now looks however may have changed due to the restrictions of the pandemic.  York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has redesigned services to enable the safe continuation of quality care during the pandemic.

Laura Milburn, Head of Cancer at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said:

It is vital that patients experiencing concerning symptoms, especially those that could be cancer, contact their GPs for assessment during the pandemic.

GP and hospital services have had to change significantly to manage the impact of the pandemic but we want to reassure patients who are referred into our hospitals for investigation that we are still providing the same quality of care, just in a different way, ensuring all the appropriate measures in line with government guidance are in place to keep patients safe when accessing services.”

To support with cancer referrals and ongoing cancer services in the Vale of York area, the Humber, Coast and Vale (HCV) Cancer Alliance has accelerated the procurement of home working stations within our region to report from home during Covid-19.

Dr Oliver Byass, Clinical Director for Radiology, Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance said:

The collaborative reporting solution sits above our independent picture archiving and communication system (PACS) and work stations within our hospitals and will allow us, as individual radiologists, to report the ‘right test first time’ seamlessly across our organisations and this is going to be transformational as to how we work in the future.

Our work in modern radiology is a lot about diagnostics and trying to get the patient diagnosis both safely and as quickly as possible and we are very fortunate that modern radiology, CT, MRI and ultrasound have amazing diagnostic capabilities.”

For more information on seeking help during Covid-19, read our blog on what to do about possible cancer symptoms.

Cancer Alliance News – May 2020

By | Cancer Alliance

Click here to view the latest edition of Cancer Alliance News

In this edition, we discover how cancer support groups are adapting to offer continued support during the coronavirus pandemic and Yvonne Elliott, Managing Director at Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance, outlines the work that is taking place to ensure patient and staff safety during Covid-19.

Read about how our Cancer Champion project is helping to raise awareness of cancer within educational establishments, find out how radiology home work stations are helping to support cancer diagnosis and hear from our newly appointment Macmillan Communication and Engagement Officer, Liv Griffiths, as she starts her role within the Alliance.

If you would like to feature in our next edition, please email comms.hcvcanceralliance@nhs.net

Click here to download a PDF version of Cancer Alliance News.

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