In its first 12 months, the acute oncology team (AOT) at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth embarked on ensuring its patients and hospital colleagues had access to specialist oncology advice, the one contact number of AOT and the one email address of AOT. It also established close relationships with its stakeholders, such as the radiology department, which now provides AOT with twice a day per week, protected slots for ultrasound-guided ascites drain; the respiratory team who provides protected slots for malignant pleural effusion with insertion of PleurX (permanent chest drain), and also established a policy of treating all oncology thrombo-embolitic events, by capturing all the incidental VTE in its oncology response CT scans.
A first priority was to ensure that specialist oncology advice was accessible to patients and colleagues. A single contact number and email address were set up for the acute oncology team (AOT).
Close relationships were established with stakeholders such as the radiology team. A pilot study was set up for walk-in protected slots of diagnostic biopsy for new oncology referrals. GPS could refer cases direct to acute oncology, allowing patients to bypass the routine two-week pathways.
Services were expanded in 2014, with two trials. Select-D is for patients with active cancer and thromboembolitic events requiring anticoagulation. Malignant Translational study on Ovarian Cancer (MTOC) uses malignant ascites fluid from ovarian cancer patients for identification of molecular biomarkers.
Objectives included giving patients a service they could rely on when dealing with cancer symptoms or treatment side effects, and being able to audit responses and relapses.
Another objective was to generate income from the telephone tariff of the acute oncology advisory service to GPs and patients.
The team aimed to fast track deteriorating patients to oncology, either via the outreach service or a protected slot for the CUP clinic.
Patient feedback was gained through surveys done via the project’s chemotherapy outpatients suite. The ultimate objective was patient safety. The aim was to see that patients were treated promptly, which resulted in a drop in 30-day mortality, and the improvement of overall survival.
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