Chemotherapy services at Local Trust: concerns raised
Healthwatch organisations from Redbridge, Havering and Barking and Dagenham will tonight (Tuesday 9 April) provide a report to the Outer North East London Joint Health Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC) in response to a request to gather the views of patients using chemotherapy services at Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge University Trust (BHRUT).
Current and recent patients with experience of using chemotherapy services were invited to share their views with Healthwatch at a focus group on Wednesday 27 March at Havering Town Hall.
The service was changed in October 2018 without formal consultation and now provides chemotherapy only from the Queens Hospital site in Romford.
The report highlights that patients and their families felt the staff were ‘really welcoming, nurses were great, amazing, caring, wonderful volunteers, professional and brilliant’.
Most said there was a calm atmosphere, some told us they felt safe and supported. However, we also found there were serious concerns regarding the level of care received if a chemotherapy patient had to attend urgent or emergency care. Concerns were also raised about the changes in appointments systems that were leading to longer waiting times and confusion.
Some patients told us the day unit was ‘outstanding’, whilst others said they felt there was little privacy in the very limited treatment space which did not provide any natural light.
Cathy Turland, Chief Executive at Healthwatch Redbridge said ‘Although patients and carers felt the staff were amazing, they were equally concerned that there was clearly a failure to provide safe and supportive treatments.’
Ian Buckmaster, Executive Director at Healthwatch Havering said ‘We were concerned to learn about the problems experienced by these patients when they have to seek treatment for unrelated conditions in the Emergency Department (A&E).
We are pressing the authorities at Queen's Hospital to ensure that improvements are made to their systems to ensure that patients undergoing treatment for cancer are promptly identified and not put at additional risk.’
Richard Vann, Healthwatch Officer at Healthwatch Barking & Dagenham said ‘Although patients told us of the positive experiences they had with the service, it was concerning to learn about the issues and problems they were faced with when they needed to seek treatment at the A&E department. There should be systems in place for patients being treated for cancer that are attending emergency and urgent care services, to make sure they are identified quickly and not left in circumstances that could further put their health at risk.’
In response, Natasha Dafesh, a spokesperson for BHRUT, added "We were pleased to hear that patients and their families praised staff and felt there was a calm atmosphere where they felt safe and supported. However, we acknowledge that a number of concerns were also raised and subsequent recommendations made. We are continually reviewing our services to ensure we provide the best patient care possible, and as such are currently looking into, and will respond, to each of the recommendations made by Healthwatch."
Please find the report attached.
For and on behalf of Healthwatch Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge