Nurses on board to support GIRFT lung cancer review

Two specialist nurses are now working with the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme to support a national review into services for lung cancer patients.

Earlier this year, GIRFT announced the appointment of three clinicians to look at how care can be improved for the 38,000 people diagnosed with lung cancer in England every year. Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 13% of all new cancer patients.

Run in collaboration with NHS England, and in line with the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan, the GIRFT review is focusing on making improvements in line with the roll-out of the National Optimal Lung Cancer Pathway.

Two nurses have now been appointed to work alongside the clinicians as visits to pilot trusts get under way. Victoria Anderson, of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Monica Hugh, of University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, will support in visits to the 133 trusts and six tertiary centres offering lung cancer services in England.

The aim is to complete all visits by mid-2020 before the publication of a national report comprising GIRFT’s findings, examples of best practice and an action plan of proposed changes and improvements. Action plans will be jointly supported by GIRFT’s implementation managers and NHS England.

Victoria Anderson has worked as a lung cancer nurse specialist at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for seven years.

She said: “I feel passionately about providing high quality care for people affected by lung cancer. I am delighted to be a part of the GIRFT programme and fully believe this will lead to improvements in patient care at both a local and national level.

“Through the sharing of innovative ways of working, as well as overcoming barriers to improving care, I believe we can achieve better outcomes for patients nationally.”

Monica Hugh has been a lung cancer nurse for eight years and works at the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.

She said: “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the GIRFT team to improve outcomes for lung cancer patients, both locally and nationally.

“Lung cancer patients often present with numerous issues that need addressing promptly, to improve outcomes and ensure they remain fit enough to access treatment. The National Optimal Lung Cancer Pathway provides us with the framework to improve the timeliness of reaching a diagnosis and starting treatment for our patients.

“I am looking forward to visiting other trusts to look some of the challenges they face and to see the improvements they have made.”

The three clinicians leading the GIRFT lung cancer workstream are Dr Paul Beckett, a respiratory physician at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust; Dr Sarah Doffman, a respiratory physician at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust; and Dr Elizabeth Toy, a consultant clinical oncologist at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Toy said: “Having Monica and Victoria working alongside us on this review will enable us to drive change at pace through the GIRFT programme, and will bring an additional expert focus on the holistic aspects of lung cancer care.

“There is currently wide variation in practice and outcomes for lung cancer patients, alongside frustrations over the inability to bring about local service improvement.

“As a team, all working together on GIRFT’s lung cancer workstream, I am convinced that we will be able to make positive progress which results in real changes for the better.”

11 October 2019