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Macmillan thoracic surgical nurse specialist post

By Sandra Dixon. Macmillan Thoracic surgical Nurse Specialist, St James University Hospital

Category: Treatment

The problem identified

A review of thoracic services raised concerns regarding inadequate information provision for patients prior to, during and after surgery. Also concerns rose of inadequate post-surgical support and poor information flows between the thoracic centre (Leeds) and the units. There was an increase in patient complaints and increasing pressure for the Leeds based CNS team to see non-Leeds patients attending Leeds for thoracic surgery. There was no additional capacity to be able to accommodate those requests.

The intervention made to change the problem

The Yorkshire Cancer Network approached Macmillan and secured funding for a full time thoracic surgical nurse specialist for 5 years starting September 2011. The function of the new post was to support the non-Leeds cancer unit patients attending Leeds for thoracic surgery and ensure equitable supportive care for all the lung cancer patient population at this part of their pathway of care.

How it changed my practice

The post-holder is based within the LeedsTeaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) and has established robust communication links with the referring units to ensure smooth patient pathways, equitable patient experience and a two way passage of information. Since the introduction of the post a number of service improvements have been implemented. This includes the patient education programme (PEP) which has been designed to bridge the deficits highlighted in a patient survey aiming to provide equity of support for any patient undergoing thoracic surgery as a treatment for lung cancer. The post-holder has been instrumental in implementing the enhanced recovery programme currently being piloted. To support both of these initiatives all written patient information has been reviewed and re-written.

Resource / Cost implications

LTHT will commit to pick up funding following an initial 5 year funded period of the post, during which time the success of the post in improving outcomes for patients will be evaluated.


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