Breast cancer follow-up initiative pays dividends

The Macmillan Cancer Support logo
The Macmillan Cancer Support logo

An innovative new approach to following up patients after breast cancer treatment is being trialled in Glasgow between NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) and the cancer charity Macmillan.

The trial will see the breast surgery team at Stobhill Hospital working with the charity to offer follow up support to patients discharged after treatment.

The Transforming Care After Treatment (TCAT) Mammogram Clinic project is run by the clinical team and funded by Macmillan. It offers a new approach to following up patients by putting them in touch with support in the community with over a third of patient not requiring return visits to hospital clinics.

Mr Keith Ogston, consultant surgeon, said: “The development of this project has been an important first step in supporting patients and clinical staff to move away from the traditional medicalised model of follow up care to a more holistic person-centred model.

“The project has facilitated staff development to deliver a safe and effective service. Improvements in capturing patients concerns have led to strong links to third sector support for patients that are now available on site in conjunction with clinics.”

Patients complete a holistic needs assessment questionnaire to record any concerns for the clinic and breast cancer nurse specialists (CNS).

The nurses then develop an individually tailored post treatment care plan for the patient covering issues ranging from fatigue, side effects of medication, mental health or financial worries – with support provided either by the health care team or the third sector.

A patient group has been set up to support the design and delivery of the project which has led to a 33% decrease in consultant visits for the patient group who are eligible.

Gordon McLean, TCAT national programme manager said: “We are very proud of our TCAT project at Stobhill Hospital Breast Cancer Clinic. Our project at Stobhill aims to make sure every patient is offered all the care they need based on an in-depth assessment of their needs, whether that’s regular contact with a cancer specialist or help with the emotional impact of cancer.”