Improving Care for Cancer Patients

The ‘moments that matter’ to cancer patients – such as good communication and support – have been explored at a two day event at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

The ‘Way Forward’ event involved patients, carers and oncology department staff and follows the introduction of the Macmillan Values-Based Standard in NHS Forth Valley earlier this year.

In January 2014, NHS Forth Valley became the first Scottish health board to sign up to the Values Based Standard (VBS) – a staff, patient and carer-led standard which aims to provide practical solutions to improve patient and staff experience. It was developed following an 18 month engagement process by Macmillan Cancer Support with over 300 healthcare staff and people living with cancer across the country.

Eight ‘behaviours’ or ‘moments that matter’ were identified and are now being used as indicators of service quality. These include communication, support and personal space, and refer to practical steps that staff and patients can do on a day-to-day basis to ensure people’s rights are protected across the care pathway.

The Forth Valley event explored ‘themes’ that emerged through local focus groups of patients, breast care staff and the VBS team. Whilst many good points were raised, some less positive aspects were identified and attendees were encouraged to discuss ways of making improvements and finding solutions

Liz MacMillan, Macmillan Values Based Standards Lead for Scotland, said: “This is an exciting time for NHS Forth Valley and we believe we have a golden opportunity to improve both patient and staff experience through co-production, resulting in a more equitable relationship between staff and patients.”