Pioneering project to offer support to cancer patients

Prof Michael Sharpe and Matron Hayley Smith

Prof Michael Sharpe and Matron Hayley Smith

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Health reporter, also covering Kidlington. Call me on 01865 425271

CANCER sufferers and other patients will get psychological support at Oxford hospitals through a project believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.

A full-time psychiatrist and three mental health nurses are expected to be hired by the autumn to lead the scheme.

They will work with patients to offer them specialist support alongside their treatment, rather than having to go to separate services.

The psychiatrist will split their time between cancer patients and other divisions, with £200,000 a year budgeted for cancer patients.

Eynsham cancer campaigner Clive Stone, 66, who won a 2007 battle to get a drug for his kidney cancer on the NHS, welcomed the news.

He said: “I have been shouting for ages about the fact that if you are living at home alone with cancer like I am, you see your consultant every six weeks and that’s it. “There is a big hole where we don’t get support from the NHS.”

About 300 out of the 3,000 people seen each year at the Oxford Cancer Centre at the Churchill Hospital, Headington, are expected to seek help.

There are also plans to get a psychiatrist for the Women’s Centre, and another for Oxford Children’s Hospital by the end of the year.

Another for clinical neuroscience – for patients with conditions such as epilepsy – is also expected to be in place by the end of 2014.

Project leader Prof Michael Sharpe said: “Oxford’s medical hospitals have not really had much in the way of psychological support for patients.

“This is novel in the UK, to work in a completely integrated way is quite groundbreaking.”

“There has been very limited support for cancer patients, almost nothing other than what they might get from their GP.”

He said people frightened of whether they will be in pain will be talked through treatment, while other issues that can be tackled include finances and family.

Prof Sharpe, who developed the scheme with trust director of clinical services Paul Brennan and oncology lead Dr Claire Blesing, said: “It is about making patients feel in control of their lives and being re-engaged with life. Depression can have a huge affect on their quality of life and ability to take cancer treatment.”

Research shows 60 per cent of depressed cancer patients who get such support see a substantial improvement within six months, he said.

“There is a national push toward patient-centred care rather than different problems being dealt with by different services.”

Trust psychiatrist Jane Walker, who works at Headington’s Sobell House Hospice two days a week, said such support is vital.

She said: “It is about helping them find their own solutions the way they have always coped throughout their life.”

The Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust plan builds on a scheme for in-house support that saw 20 psychologists and eight psychiatrists spread across departments in March last year.

Since 2004, Churchill patients have been able to get psychological support from the site’s Maggie’s charity.

Centre head Claire Marriott said: “Support for people with cancer is incredibly important and we are delighted that more will be available.”

A Cancer UK spokeswoman said: “This recognises the importance of providing psychological support for patients who need it.”

Our top stories:

Snow across Oxfordshire - in readers' pictures + forecast

Oxford Mail:

7:43am Saturday 31st January 2015

IT'S been snowing overnight in Oxfordshire and here's some of the pictures our readers have sent in.

Record broken as more than £500,000 raised for Poppy Appeal

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 31st January 2015

THE POPPY Appeal’s fundraising target has been smashed in the county.

Man left with serious head injuries after being hit with wooden item during fight in Bicester

Oxford Mail: Foorball forges links between police and youngsters

3:17pm Saturday 31st January 2015

THREE men have been arrested after a man was left with "serious injuries," police say.

Healthcare worker brought back from Africa to UK for Ebola monitoring via Brize Norton

Oxford Mail: RAF logo

1:20pm Saturday 31st January 2015

A British military healthcare worker has been brought back to England for Ebola monitoring after suffering a needle-stick injury while treating a person in Sierra Leone.

Oxford United striker Danny Hylton says they are ready for Stevenage battle

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 31st January 2015

Danny Hylton has warned Oxford United will get “eaten alive” at Stevenage today unless they match their hosts’ appetite for a battle.

Celebrations as the Blavatnik building is 'topped out'

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 31st January 2015

BUILDERS and Oxford University dons have celebrated “topping out” one of Oxford’s newest and most prominent buildings.

Oxfordshire County Council scrapping its chief executive role

Oxford Mail: Joanna Simons

8:30am Saturday 31st January 2015

OXFORDSHIRE’s biggest local authority is to scrap its top unelected position as part of a radical shake-up to save costs.

Minister visits arson hit South Oxfordshire councils building

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 31st January 2015

MINISTER Penny Mordaunt toured burned-out council headquarters to show her support for staff.

Churchill: The Bladon verger who met him in Germany and then was at his burial

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Saturday 31st January 2015

A 91-YEAR-OLD who served as a verger at the burial of Sir Winston Churchill has recounted the historic day 50 years on.

Churchill: I remember our football match was stopped as the train carrying his body passed

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Saturday 31st January 2015

FOR years Mike Cross was confused about why a football match he was playing in as a 16-year-old was suspended as a train went past.

£6m Clarendon Shopping Centre revamp is finished

Oxford Mail:

6:20am Saturday 31st January 2015

A £6 MILLION revamp to a shopping centre in Oxford has been completed to make it “bigger” and “brighter”.

North Oxford residents fear axed trees will give them bad vibrations from railway

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Saturday 31st January 2015

HOUSEHOLDS fear removing trees from railway sidings has exposed them to more noise and vibrations as a survey revealed homes had historical structural damage.

Mum says Oxford Health let down son who escaped mental hospital

Oxford Mail: Ian McLean

9:00am Friday 30th January 2015

THE family of man who escaped a mental hospital, fled abroad then hanged himself in a prison cell have said he was let down by Oxford Health.

UPDATE: Snow and sleet forecast for Saturday in Oxfordshire

Oxford Mail: Ice warning for Sussex after more snow falls

12:06pm Thursday 29th January 2015

SNOW has been forecast for Oxfordshire over the weekend and a yellow weather warning is still in place for today.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree