"I am a Cancer patient and attend ..."

About: Cheltenham General Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

I am a Cancer patient and attend Chermo once every three weeks. My last appointment was at 0900 hours, I had my blood taken and saw the Dr by about 1030 hours (Not bad) Then, I had to wait until after 2000 hours in the evening before I was given my Chemotherapy (IR)(On Piccollo Trial ). Moreover, if I was fortunate enough to be having my treatment around lunch time, patients get free tea,coffe and/or sandwiches?? Having to wait 12 hours and you get nothing (or pay).

What could be improved

Better co-ordination and management - BUTwho makes the decision to keep me waiting for 12 hours?????? (When I'm I'll)

Story from NHS Choices

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Responses

Response from Cheltenham General Hospital

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is sorry that you had to wait for your chemotherapy. Unfortunately, Chemotherapy can be very complex and needs to be made up to your individual requirements depending on your blood test results. Once this is ready a specially qualified nurse has to administer this. This can all add to the delay for patients waiting in the Oncology Centre.

We do appreciate how frustrating this can be and the staff try to make this waiting time as bearable as possible. There is the facility to obtain food and drinks and there are bleeps available for patients who wish to leave the department whilst they are waiting. Magazines, TV and personal stereos are all available to try to reduce the boredom.

In our Oncology Centre, we do not have a waiting list, as our patients have told us that they prefer to have the first available appointment when they need it. This means that whoever needs chemotherapy on a particular day, receives it. However this means that on some days there may be a number of people waiting at the same time.

We acknowledge this is not ideal, as all our patients are ill and should not have to wait unduly.

With this in mind and by listening to our patients the following changes have been implemented or are taking place.

• Additional chemotherapy clinics at other hospitals

• Mobile chemotherapy clinics for certain rural areas

• Recruitment drive for additional nurses skilled in giving chemotherapy

• On-going substantial investment in the service alongside considerable expansion to the chemotherapy unit

• Extension to the Oncology Centre that will provide additional space due for completion next summer (2009)

• Pharmacy base in the Outpatients Department itself to reduce waiting times for medications

• Installation of air conditioning to improve the environment temperature (due imminently)

• Update of the information provided to patients at the pre-chemotherapy clinic, we always let people know that this is a complex process and can take a long time

• New departmental nurse manager in place recently to make sure that these changes go ahead

• Introduction of volunteers to assist patients and staff in the Oncology Centre

We hope that this combination of measures will help to improve the experience of our patients.

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