New specialised urology centre services commences

The new specialised urological surgery cancer service has welcomed its first patients at Southend Hospital as planned in April.

Clinicians and managers from Essex hospitals have developed and agreed a new model for the service with commissioners, which incorporates feedback from patients and improvements to patient information.

The plans affect around 150-200 prostate, bladder and kidney cancer patients a year in Essex who need the most specialised urological surgery to treat their cancer. The changes will ensure the service meets national standards and lead to improved outcomes for local cancer patients.

The service began a phased launch from 1st April in order to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements for patients. This means that:


 Initially, new patients choosing specialised surgery for urological cancers will be referred to the new centre at Southend. Patients already booked in at Colchester will continue to have their surgery at Colchester.
 Radical Prostatectomy (a specialised operation to remove all or part of the prostate gland in otherwise fit and healthy men whose cancer is contained within the prostate), for existing and new patients will continue to be carried out at Colchester until September 2017.
 Patients who do not require surgery will continue to be treated at their existing hospital. This is not expected to change.
 New patients who do not require surgery will not be referred to the centre unless it is their nearest hospital. This is not expected to change.
 Non cancer patients needing urological surgery will be treated at their nearest acute hospital. This is not expected to change.
 Current arrangements for Radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment will remain unchanged.

The new service means an expert team of surgeons, nurses and other healthcare workers, can develop their skills by treating a larger number and range of patients. They will also be able to provide an outreach service into the rest of Essex, supporting urology teams in other hospitals and providing some surgery at Mid Essex.

Throughout this process, providers and commissioners have been eager to ensure patients can receive care as close to home as possible. Most urology patients will see no change in the location of their treatment with only those choosing specialised surgery attending the centre in Southend.

Earlier this year, patients from Colchester, Mid Essex and Southend took part in a virtual walkthrough of the planned new service, measuring their journey times and talking to staff about the plans. Their feedback was used to ensure the planned new service meets both clinical standards and patient expectations, and also to help shape patient information and the content of a new website which explains the service and provides other relevant information. A patient coordinator has also been appointed to help navigate patients through the process, providing them with information on travel, accommodation and entitlement to support with travel costs if they need it.

With patient feedback in mind, on discharge from the ward at the surgical centre, patients will be given a ‘passport’ that has been designed to ensure they leave with all relevant diagnostic and operation procedure information. This will enable swift transfer of relevant information to the local provider, and is both available and accessible in the case of an emergency.

Once the service has been running for a few months, patients will help evaluate the new service to see if any further changes need to be made to the model or to the support available for patients.

For more information please email the  Senior Service Specialist here

Date: 28 April 2017

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