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National award nomination for huge leap in lung cancer care

22 September 2016

Health Care

The Cardiac and Medical Day Stay (CMDS) team at Southend University Hospital have been shortlisted for a prestigious national healthcare award.

They are in the running for a 2016 Health Service Journal (HSJ) award, under the category for Acute Sector Innovation, thanks to their entry for Intra Pleural Catheter insertion service that allows patients suffering with lung cancer to have long term drains fitted.

This means that terminally ill patients in the last months of their life can spend precious time at home in their own surroundings with loved ones rather than keep coming into hospital to change normal drains, that would only last a few days.

The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic, rather than general anaesthetic, which means there is a faster recovery time for the patient and less risk to them.

The service has been running for the last year and Ward Manager, Emma Matthews, explained the massive benefits for patients. She said: "In their last year of life, patients don't want to be sitting in a hospital bed when with this procedure they can be at home. If you have a terminal diagnosis you want to be at home eating your own food, using your own toilet, sleep better, and be more comfortable in your own bed and own furniture.

"Patients are more relaxed at home, its far less stressful than multiple visits to hospital, they can have visitors whenever they want and it just gives them both a better quality of care and life. It's less traumatic for patients and their families.

"Previously patients would need to keep coming into hospital for very painful chest drains, which are very uncomfortable. Instead it is now done with under a vacuum in the home, by either a community nurse or partner of the patient. With that there is also a much lower risk of infection."

The innovation to bring the service to Southend is thanks to Dr Masood Ali, Consultant Respiratory Physician. He received his training to be able to perform these special long term catheter insertions at Addenbrooke's in Cambridge. He has already trained one consultant to perform it in Southend, with another part way through their training, which means the hospital can see even more patients.

It means that patients no longer have to go to a specialist centre for the procedure, which takes around 30 minutes and a hospital stay of just two to three hours.

Dr Ali, said: "Between April 2015- March 2016 the service saw 140 patient attendances, the estimate for the period between April 2016 and March 2017 is that there will be an increase to 550 attendances. There is a large migrant of people from the East End, predominantly post war babies that were working in the docks or factories who have been exposed to asbestos. Asbestos exposure can cause a form of cancer called mesothelioma and this usually results in accumulation of fluid around the lung (pleural effusion).

"Our one-stop clinic has greatly improved the management pathway for our patients who present with a pleural effusion. Its development is a great example of a patient-centred multidisciplinary team working and an effective interaction between primary and secondary care services."

Of the award nomination Mr Neil Rothnie, Medical Director at Southend Hospital, said: "That this service improves the quality of life for hundreds of our patients, and really improves their experience of care, by being in their own familiar surroundings.

"The whole team can be very proud of all they have achieved and the recognition that comes with this nomination quite rightly sees them applauded at national level."

The team will find out if they win the award at the HSJ Awards, in partnership with de Poel health + care, on Wednesday 23 November. For 35 years the HSJ Awards, have recognised, celebrated, and promoted the finest achievements in NHS, and showcased them to the service's most influential leaders.