'Absolutely amazing' patient support earns Christie team the Cancer Nursing Practice Award

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'Absolutely amazing' patient support earns Christie team the Cancer Nursing Practice Award

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The Macmillan secondary breast cancer nurse specialist team at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester has won the Cancer Nursing Practice category at the RCNi Nurse Awards.

Sharon Foy
Sharon Foy with a patient focus group. Picture: John Houlihan

The award, sponsored by Macmillan Cancer Support, recognises and rewards cancer nurses or teams who have improved the quality of care that patients receive at diagnosis, during and after treatment. It was announced at a gala ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London.

'Terrific results'

The judges praised the ‘terrific’ results of the team of Sharon Foy, Rosalyn Fox, Claire Gaskell, Bethan Daniel and Julie Orford.

Realising that secondary breast care (SBC) patients were not getting the support they needed, The Christie’s breast cancer nurse team developed a designated clinic that supports patients from when they are diagnosed.

The team is led by Sharon Foy. ‘There were local and national drivers for the service,’ said Ms Foy. ‘It was recognised that nationally there was inadequate support for this patient group. There were high levels – more than 50% – of psychological morbidity. They needed more structured support from diagnosis onwards.

‘Locally, we had 2,500 new breast cancer patients each year and our referral criteria were too broad. This was not only unsustainable, but had meant inequality of access for patients.

‘We wanted to address this and become proactive rather than giving reactive care, often managing crisis. And we wanted to meet patients diagnosed with SBC within a month.’

'Absolutely amazing'

Patient Jenny Sutcliffe, who was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in June last year said: ‘I do not know how I would have coped without the absolutely amazing support and care of The Christie’s Macmillan secondary breast cancer nurse specialist team.

‘It is difficult getting through day-to-day, but these nurses make a terrible situation more bearable. I cannot put into words how much it means to know that they there for me and listen. They get it and they get me.’

Further information

For the full story of the team's work, including a photo gallery, click here.

For a round up of all the winners, finalists and coverage of the night’s events, go to the RCNi Nurse Awards home page.

Excellence in Cancer Research winner

A head and neck cancer nurse specialist has won the Excellence in Cancer Research category at the RCNi Nurse Awards for her ‘excellent work, breaking taboos and making patients’ lives better’ in developing a sexual dysfunction and intimacy questionnaire. Read about Julie Hoole's work here.

The RCNi Nurse Awards

The RCNi Nurse Awards are the profession’s top accolade for nursing excellence. They recognise and reward nurses who have come up with new ways to improve health outcomes, enhance patient experiences and transform nursing practice. The awards provide a fantastic opportunity to share nursing initiatives, raise the profile of nursing, gain national recognition and influence nursing policy and practice.

Look out for details of how to enter the 2018 awards!


The Cancer Nursing Practice Award is sponsored by Macmillan Cancer Support