Walsall’s acute oncology service is to become a seven-day service, increasing from five days a week, starting from Monday, 7 February.
Currently the team, which reviews patients who are acutely unwell because of cancer, runs from Monday to Friday.
Following extra funding and to fall in line with a national initiative, the service will operate at weekends too and the team has increased from two to four clinical nurse specialists – Jayne Breen, Lisa James, Emily-Jane Patrick and Cheanell Daughma.
Under the extended service, it is hoped patients will be seen quicker and therefore receive their treatment sooner.
The team works closely with the oncology consultants, Emergency Department and acute medical teams with a common aim of improving outcomes for cancer patients who are admitted as an emergency to the Manor.
These will include patients who present with a new diagnosis of cancer, symptoms of an existing cancer or significant side effects from their cancer treatment.
The patients seen also include those with neutropenic sepsis – a whole-body reaction to an infection that can be life-threatening – metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC), which is when a cancerous tumour damages or presses on the nerves in the spinal cord, and other oncology emergencies.
The nursing team is supported by oncologists from University Hospital Birmingham (UHB), who provide a daily ward round from Monday to Friday.
If urgent consultant advice is required at weekends, this is also provided by UHB’s on-call consultant and registrar.
Macmillan Acute Oncology Lead Nurse Jayne Breen said: “The aim of our service is to improve outcomes for patients by ensuring they have access to a specialist opinion quickly and they are on the correct pathways.
“This will hopefully reducing the patients’ length of stay in hospital and get those who are admitted, out of hospital quicker by seeing them in ambulatory clinics across the seven days.
“This is only possible because of the support we receive from the surgical divisional team, oncology, acute medicine and Emergency Department colleagues. This is a really exciting time for service and we can’t wait to get started.”
ED Consultant Miss Ruchi Joshi said: “Extending the acute oncology service is going to be hugely beneficial to all our oncology patients who have to access our services from time to time. They will now be assured they receive the best possible care by this hugely skilled team.
“It will also be extremely beneficial to Walsall staff because they now have access to the knowledge and expertise of the oncology team at all hours of the day. This is a positive step in the right direction.”