1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. That’s why our specialist cancer doctors, nurses and other clinicians are here for you and the people you love and care for. They are the people who meet with patients to discuss and agree treatment options, to review how treatment is going, and to plan future treatments.
In the past, there were enough of these specialist cancer clinicians in our area for them to see patients at five of our local hospitals.
More recently, the number of these cancer specialists has reduced as the number and range of available treatments has increased. We no longer have enough specialist staff to run outpatient appointments at all five hospitals. There is a national shortage of people trained in this specialism and our efforts to recruit new clinical staff have not been as successful as we would have liked. The challenges do not affect the delivery of nonsurgical cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. People with cancer still go to the same local hospitals for these treatments.
Too often, patients’ appointments were delayed or cancelled at short notice. To improve the situation for patients we reduced the number of places our specialist cancer clinicians see patients with some types of cancer. We did this because reducing the number of locations that the specialist cancer doctors had to travel to meant they had more time to see more patients.
For example, at the moment, when they have a face-to-fact outpatient appointment, patients with lower gastrointestinal cancer are seen at Weston Park Cancer Centre in Sheffield. These changes improved the availability of doctors and reduced the possibility of patient appointments being delayed or cancelled.
These temporary changes have been in place for some time. Now, we are reviewing where we provide these appointments for all non-surgical cancer patients. In March and April 2023, we asked patients, carers, local residents, and staff to give us their views and tell us about their experiences and expectations, so we can take those into account. We are grateful to everyone who took the time to attend a discussion group, talk to one of our interviewers, take part in a focus group, complete our survey, or share their views in other ways.
What those hundreds of local people told us has helped us think more deeply about what changes we could make to these services. We are using the information you have given us to help us develop and shape our ideas this autumn. You can read the involvement report on the links below.
Click here for the listening document
Click here for an easy read version of the listening document
Click here for an audio version of the listening document
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