The Kent and Medway Cancer Alliance
The Kent and Medway Cancer Alliance brings together clinicians and managers from health, social care and other services to transform the diagnosis, treatment and care for cancer patients. These partnerships enable care to be more effectively planned across local cancer pathways.
In 2015 an Independent Cancer Taskforce Strategy set out an ambitious vision for improving services, care and outcomes for everyone with cancer: fewer people getting cancer, more people surviving cancer, more people having a good experience of their treatment and care, whoever they are and wherever they live, and more people being supported. Cancer alliances have been set up across England to drive the change needed to achieve the taskforce’s vision.
The national NHS Long Term Plan made a huge commitment to improving cancer care, diagnosis and survival rates by 2028. You can read a summary of what is in the plan here: Cancer and the NHS Long Term Plan (10 downloads)
The alliance is made up of multiple stakeholders including healthcare providers from across Kent and Medway, commissioners, hospices, patient representatives, voluntary and charitable organisations and the National Institute for Health Research. It also has strong links with neighbouring Cancer Alliances in South East London and Surrey and Sussex.
It is aligned to and working with the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. It is committed to involving patients and service users in its plans to improve cancer care across the county and make sure their voices are heard.
The alliance also works closely with the Kent and Medway Cancer Collaborative, which works to share best practice and develop local care pathways, and the Kent and Medway Cancer Action Partnership which works to involve local patients in the development of services.
Priorities for improvement
The alliance is focused on improving five main areas:
Prevention and screening: We want to support access to information, education and resources to support people to make choices to improve health and reduce risks of cancer. This includes: avoiding and stopping smoking, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, reducing risks from alcohol and improving access to, and uptake of screening programmes.
Earlier diagnosis: Cancer survival rates in England are higher than they have ever been, and earlier diagnosis is the key to improving survival rates further. Earlier cancer diagnoses will enable us to meet this ambitious goal, as it means patients can receive treatment when there is a better chance of achieving a complete cure. This work involves the:
- introduction of new streamlined diagnostic pathways
- piloting a ‘vague symptom’ clinic
- implementation of the new 28-day faster diagnosis standard
- reviewing the current diagnostic service provision across Kent and Medway.
Treatment and care: Working with our expert clinical tumour site specific groups (TSSGs) ensuring that appropriate access to treatment and care is available for patients across the area. This includes ensuring that specialised surgical care is available alongside modern radiotherapy and chemotherapy services.
Living with and beyond cancer: More people than ever are living with and beyond cancer. The NHS is leading the way in cancer care by recognising that quality of life outcomes are as important to people as survival.
Personalising aftercare: Putting patients more in control of their recovery is an important aspect of improving the patient experience. This work includes:
- ensuring all patients have a holistic needs assessments (HNA) and a personalised support and care plan so their individual needs and concerns can be identified and addressed at the earliest opportunity
- making sure treatment summaries provide both the patient and their GP with valuable information and prompts for action on how to seek help if new symptoms arise and to optimise health and wellbeing
- embedding cancer care reviews in primary care to make sure patients’ ongoing needs can be met, so that cancer and its consequences are increasingly managed as a long-term condition
- a full range of accessible support services and information provision across a local area, so every patient knows what is available to help them reach their goals after treatment.
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