Community Cancer Nurse Specialist, Transforming Cancer Care in the Community Project Lead.
Welcome to our website. We hope you find much here that proves useful to you.
My team and I are always keen to hear from you. Should you want to contact us please do so on 01480 416410 and we will respond.
Community Cancer Nurse
Community Cancer Nurse
Assistant Cancer Practitioner
Community Cancer Nurse
Community Cancer Nurse
Assistant Cancer Practitioner
I provide the administrative support for the team and am responsible for patient liaison. I manage day to day enquiries about the work of the team, support the nursing team. I can be reached on 01480 416410.
Who are the Hunts Community Cancer Network (HCCN)
We are a local charity run by volunteers who support the Hunts Community Cancer Nursing Service to enable and empower people with a cancer diagnosis to take back their lives either recovering from or living with cancer.
HCCN comprises of the Hunts Community Cancer nursing team, St Ives Adult Education, the HCCN Charity and volunteers. We are keen to engage with the local business community and the people of Huntingdonshire. To this end we have affiliations with House of Flags and Huntingdon Tesco, thus far.
Working together our aim is to help people who are recovering from or living with cancer in the Hunts area to take back their lives and to play an active part in managing their health.
We do this by delivering a home based nursing service plus educational conferences where we share current research on diet, exercise and emotional well-being demonstrating how changed habits can improve health. We then support people as they adopt those new habits by offering opportunities which bring people together encouraging them to experience our Get Active Programme which includes all types of exercise, our yoga programme, and various evidence based activities designed to offer emotional support.
Our mission is to encourage a more objective view of cancer and to help people understand the trajectory of cancer is ever changing and that increasingly cancer can be lived with in the same way as other long term conditions such as heart disease, diabetes & asthma, particularly when individuals are actively involved in managing their health
There are 1.6million people in England with a diagnosis of cancer. This number is likely to grow by over 3% per year, reflecting the increasing incidence of cancer and better survival rates. By 2030 there are likely to be around four million cancer survivors in UK.
The current system of follow-up is not meeting people’s needs and will not cope if the number of people living with cancer increases at the expected rate Moreover, evidence shows that the current model of cancer follow-up isn’t meeting people’s needs and we know that the 2 million will double to 4 million by 2030.
This means that unless we are going to double the workforce we have to do things differently. Cancer patient’s individual needs are best met through interactions with a mix of people making up the cancer workforce. In its most simple format one-to-one support is about having the right person with the right skills and knowledge at the right time to meet individual needs. So it might be a clinical nurse specialist, but equally it might be a physiotherapist, support worker, district nurse or practice nurse.
The Hunts Project
The Transforming Cancer Care in the Community programme was launched in 2011 within the Anglia Cancer Network (now part of East of England Strategic Clinical Network) in recognition of the need to change to accommodate the evolving landscape. The objectives of the programme are to demonstrate that:
Care closer to home is better for patients and reduces over-reliance on hospital-based care,
Through investment in an alternative model of a combined Primary Care Cancer Nurse/Support Worker cancer care, there are opportunities to improve quality and efficiency of cancer services as well as sustain and improve the patient’s experience.
There are seven pilot sites which have received funding for a 2 year period across the Anglia region:
Bedford, Cambridge, Great Yarmouth & Waveney, Huntingdon, Peterborough, Suffolk and West Norfolk.
The crucial role that community healthcare professionals have in supporting people and their carers is becoming increasingly evidenced. The Department of Health has identified the development of primary care cancer nurses nationally as one way to help people with cancer to remain at home and to avoid unnecessary admissions
The multiple facets of The Hunts Community Cancer Teams role can be broadly categorised into three main areas:
1.Support and education;
2.Specialist assessment and home treatments;
3.Advancing community cancer care.
The extent of the CCNS team’s involvement with each patient/carer varies according to individual need identified through assessment. The nurses also help people adjust and adapt to a cancer diagnosis and signpost them to other resources and services. The information needs of people affected by cancer varies enormously, particularly ‘about the disease, treatment options, side effects and how to obtain support’.
A common request from patients to the team is regarding test results. Many patients want to know follow-up diagnostic or investigation results, prior to attending outpatient appointments with their oncologists. The patients commented on the benefit of having a CCNS discuss results ‘in lay man’s terms’. This allows the patient time to formulate questions prior to their consultation with their specialist.
A proportion of the teams input for most patients includes advocacy, care tracking, co-ordinating patient care across primary and secondary care for follow-up, scans, treatment etc, especially where there is no site specific clinical nurse specialist.
The team aims to minimise potential problems and aim to manage such events within primary care avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions
For urgent or unforeseen problems, the nurses run an open access service for their patients during office hours.
If telephone triage and management is not possible, the CCNS will carry out an assessment at home. Through utilisation of the CCNS’ specialist skills and knowledge, and liaison with the primary and/or secondary health care teams as appropriate, hospital admissions are averted as far as possible.
The team can also directly admit patients through the emergency or elective admissions departments
Home treatments offered by the team include coordination of oral chemotherapy, care of indwelling intravenous lines and chemotherapy infusion pumps. Also administration of some of the novel biological therapies that can now be administered under the skin.
Receiving treatment at home can enable people to maintain their role in society more easily.
The team also want to work with the community to educate and inform people of both the early signs of cancer and signs of recurrence. It holds educational events and runs evidence based activities to support patients through their time with cancer and to encourage healthier lifestyles.
The Service works alongside the Hunts Community Cancer Network Charity. This networking enables the service to link with businesses, voluntary agencies & schools to raise money and awareness of the great work being done.
Watch our videos
What are we doing to transform cancer care locally?
As you can see from our introduction, our whole philosophy of care is different. It’s all about the people being affected by cancer. What can make it better and easier for them? That may be by trying to avoid hospital admission by intervening early or helping to transfer care home from hospital as early and smoothly as we can. It’s often as simple as just listening….and more importantly hearing.
So, in addition to this we want to target areas of care that we think can be managed more effectively. Some of the things we are doing are:
There is a section about that within this section. This is about keeping cancer follow ups on track with scans and other investigations but not about having unnecessary or un- timely outpatient appointments.
Late Effects Service
Again read more in-depth information within the managing your cancer positively section.
Late effects of cancer and cancer treatment are becoming increasingly prevalent as we are curing or keeping more people alive with cancer.
In the past the thought was that these late effects were to be ‘put up with’ because after all we had treated the cancer! We now know that we can sometimes make a difference to these debilitating and often life changing side effects. They don’t need to be ‘put up with’.
We were fortunate enough to have had donated a piece of equipment that can help us identify and treat some of the late effects that cause terrible bowel symptoms. But we also assess and advise on all late effects issues.
Early recognition of Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression
We want to raise awareness of this other life changing complication of cancer.
We know that certain cancers, particularly Breast, Lung, prostate & Myeloma can progress, unnoticed initially, to the bones.
Whilst this can be a number of bones, the most worrisome is the spine.
This can happen soon or sometime after cancer treatment is complete and hoped that it is ‘cured’.
Because it can happen, occasionally, sometime after treatment is completed it can be ignored or miss -diagnosed. This is because it often presents initially as back ache. By the time it shows more significant symptoms, irreversible damage can be done.
We know this but more importantly patients tell us that “they wish they had been told this”
They may well have been told and also have been given written information about it spinal cord compression. Unfortunately there is so much information given at such a stressful and busy time that important information gets ‘lost’.
So we are giving all risk patients credit cards with this information on and asking that they read it and keep it in their purse or wallet. This can then be presented to a health professional if the patient is worried that they have any of the symptoms listed on it. We also have issued a similar card to all GP in our area to ensure that they are more alert to this late presentation of cancer spread.
We hold 2 of these a year. They are for anyone who has been affected by cancer.
There will always be a common thread throughout all the conferences around the psychological and emotional effects of a cancer diagnosis and the importance of diet and exercise. But we also try to offer novel speakers that are relevant but fun and interesting too.
Feedback tells us though that the biggest plus for those that attend is meeting others that understand.
We were worried that we might lose people!
We know that after a cancer diagnosis and treatment everyone responds differently. Some people need lots of support, some don’t and others think they don’t!
We notice that it is particularly easy to lose track of those who get on with their lives. But, we know that they may hit sticky patches and we want to remind them that we are still around for them.
The newsletter does this and much more.
Managing Your Cancer Responsibly
This innovative programme is about educating patients early as to the importance of diet and exercise. Practice historically is that this waits till completion of treatment. We now know that maintaining fitness throughout treatment can affect survival and recurrence rates on a number of levels. We also offer information on the late effects of cancer treatment, what to expect, what’s normal & not normal and what to do. We educate people to the warning signs of possible cancer progression, how their lives may be impacted on emotionally and much more.
Transforming Cancer Care locally – Our Journey
Pilot started May 2013 with 3 nurses and 10 GP practices. Funded by NHS England
January 2014 – Won ‘Patient Health, safety & Quality care’ Award from Circle Group.
Early 2014 – Conception of The Hunts Community Cancer Network Charity to enable us to offer an enhanced service through monies raised.
September 2024– Commendation from UKONS (UK Oncology Nursing Society) for innovative practice
December 2014– Won Hinchingbrooke innovation in practice Award
February 2015 – Gained support and Funding from Hunts Care partners & Hunts Health Local commissioning groups. In support of an outstanding service thus far. This means we can roll out to include 25 GP practices
March 2015 – Will be our official launch of our Website finally being up & running!
HCCN Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is HCCN?
Hunts Community Cancer Service is cancer care delivered in the community but it’s much much more than that. The core purpose of the service is to pick up patients from the point of diagnosis and continue that support to always be there, even after completion of treatment, to be someone that the patient knows will always be a key point of contact. We provide clinical skills to keep patients out of hospital and if they are in hospital to get them out as soon as possible. We avoid unnecessary outpatient appointments as we can frequently do reviews at home and encourage patients to self-manage much like Asthma, diabetes & heart disease.
2. Who else does it work with? Why it is also called HCCN.
The Network part of the title is about us working with schools, business and the local community to promote good health, early diagnosis and to demystify cancer. In return we gain support through use of facilities, practical help & charitable donations to support this element of our work.
Also we work with cancer experts who generously give their time to increase awareness of the importance of diet, emotional well-being and exercise in limiting cancer recurrence and promoting healthy life styles. And the local community including businesses whose generous support is enabling us to advertise what we have to offer to the general public and volunteers who do many of the support tasks.
3. How did it start?
As a two year pilot project funded by NHS England. Their objectives were to transform the way that cancer care is delivered. Cancer rates are increasing by over 3% a year. At present there are just below 2 million cancer survivors and by 2030 it is envisaged that there will be around 4 million. So we need to look at delivering care differently. We know that care is better delivered closer to home – this not only supports better efficiency of resources but improves patient experience.
4. How is it funded?
The pilot was funded by NHS England. This funding will end as of June. For the next year funding will come from the local GP commissioning groups as they have seen not only the financial benefit but also the improved patient experience. We will now be looking to get the Cambs & Peterborough Commissioning group to pick up the longer term funding from 2016.
5. Are there more programmes like this in the East?
There were 7 pilot sites. These sites all had unique differences to test out different models. The Hunts model showed the biggest impact, both for quality and cost efficiency. Our model is the one that will be rolled out across East of England in the coming future.
6. Has it demonstrated financial viability within the NHS or is it just another short term programme?
Definitely. The project was evaluated to ensure that financial savings were made. We save money by avoiding unexpected admissions to hospital through our proactive care programme. We are also able to give certain treatments at home which avoid day case & outpatient hospital visits. The hidden cost benefits of improved psychological care and encouragement to attend educational workshops and healthy lifestyle activities are more difficult to quantify
7. Where does it operate?
The nursing team is based at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and currently serves Hunts and parts of Fenland.
8. What are its non clinical aims?
As cancer treatments are evolving and better able to keep disease under control, we need to look at how cancer is managed as a long term disease. Much like asthma, diabetes & heart disease we aim to teach people to self-manage and take responsibility for their disease. We want to help people become aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer so that they are equipped to play a full part in managing their health. As we know early diagnosis saves lives.
9. What is the charity’s role in HCCN
The charity, started by patients, raises funds for the educational part of the programme whether that is the two conferences we run a year or the work we are beginning to do in the community or equipment for our exercise classes.
10. Isn’t it just doing something that already exists?
No it isn’t. There are some fantastic charities out there that support people with cancer and amazing work going on in hospitals across the country and we certainly work with all of them. But our focus is the local community. We offer a clinical service at home, we stay with patients after the intense treatment has stopped and work with them to build their strength and knowledge so that they can take back the lives they had before they were diagnosed with cancer.
11. Are there some people with cancer that you don’t work with?
We accept patients over 18 with any cancer diagnosis, at any stage of their disease. Towards end of life we work closely with our palliative care nurses. We also take referrals from people close to the person who has the cancer diagnosis, if they are struggling to cope
12. How can I help?