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:

UPDATE: Mayfair Road man appears in court on Barton murder charge as alleged victim is named as Wojciech Ryniak

Oxford Mail: oxford magistrates court

11:04am Saturday 25th April 2015

A MAN has today appeared in court charged with murder after a man was found with chest injuries in Barton late on Tuesday night.

Defibrillator campaign smashes its 200 target - now let's go for 500

Oxford Mail:

9:04am Saturday 25th April 2015

ONE man’s mission to get 200 more public defibrillators across Oxfordshire has smashed its target thanks to the Oxford Mail.

Barton man appears in court charged in connection with Mayfair Road incident

Oxford Mail: oxford magistrates court

1:56pm Saturday 25th April 2015

A MAN has today appeared in court charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of a stun gun after an incident in Mayfair Road on Tuesday evening.

Oink: Warning to dog walkers as wild boar seen in Oxfordshire

Oxford Mail:

12:00pm Saturday 25th April 2015

WILD boar have been spotted in parts of Oxfordshire.

Randolph Hotel: Historically important parts largely unscathed by fire

Oxford Mail:

8:57am Saturday 25th April 2015

A CONSERVATION group has said historically important sections of The Randolph Hotel were left largely unscathed by last week’s major fire.

Thefts fall, only to be replaced by big increase in cyber crime

Oxford Mail:

8:53am Saturday 25th April 2015

CYBER crime in Oxford is becoming so prevalent it is replacing traditional thefts, a police chief has said.

Residents back post mistress after changes threaten shop

Oxford Mail:

8:47am Saturday 25th April 2015

HUNDREDS of experienced postmasters will be lost as part of changes to our post offices, a union secretary has warned.

Gloucester Green bus station getting a wash and brush up

Oxford Mail:

8:41am Saturday 25th April 2015

A MAJOR clean-up is under way to smarten up Oxford’s Gloucester Green bus station.

Kidlington man to lay wreath at Cenotaph to recognise Grandfather and Great-Uncle's Gallipoli sacrifice

Oxford Mail:

8:33am Saturday 25th April 2015

ONE HUNDRED years ago Robin Atherton’s grandfather went into battle along with his twin brother – but only one of them survived the day.

Oxfordshire remains one of worst places for bed-blocking in the country

Oxford Mail: John Radcliffe Hospital stock

8:30am Friday 24th April 2015

A BEDBLOCKING crisis in the county has forced health bosses to launch a week-long blitz.

Police return to Mayfair Road house in Cowley as murder investigation continues

Oxford Mail:

7:07pm Friday 24th April 2015

POLICE officers have tonight returned to a house in Cowley after two arrests were made in the Barton murder investigations.

Man arrested after woman attacked at a Bicester house

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

4:11pm Friday 24th April 2015

A MAN has been arrested after a woman was attacked at a house in Bicester.

Missing African grey parrot Donna found safe in Wallingford

Oxford Mail:

3:19pm Friday 24th April 2015

A MISSING parrot has been found in Wallingford following a police appeal.

Trains in Oxfordshire delayed after vehicle hits bridge

Oxford Mail: oxford train station inside

2:46pm Friday 24th April 2015

TRAINS are delayed between Oxford, London Paddington, Reading and Swindon after a vehicle struck a bridge at Pangbourne.

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