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Praise for outstanding cancer unit with positive and compassionate staff in Wirral

Staff were praised for their positivity and compassion for patients. Credit: Clatterbridge

A specialist cancer unit on the Wirral has been rated 'outstanding' in all areas by health inspectors.

The report said the Clatterbridge centre had 'some of the most advanced techniques and equipment in the country'.

The Care Quality Commission inspected the Merseyside specialist cancer centre in June 2016 and found staff were “enthusiastic and willing to go the extra mile”.

The inspectors also praised the leadership of the Trust, its clear strategy, and a number of treatment innovations that have been introduced.

They included a rapid chemotherapy chair to speed up waiting times and the Chemotherapy at Home programme, which sees cancer patients being treated in their own homes.

The inspectors said of the latter: “This service embodied the overall Trust and service vision of providing the best cancer care to their patients.”

Also singled out for praise was the prescribing of Adjuvant Zoledronatec - or bisphosphonates – a bone strengthening drug that has been found to prevent the spread of some newly diagnosed breast cancers and is the subject of a campaign by a cancer charity to make it more widely available.

The CQC said this innovation was “market leading” and ensured “patients with breast cancer were receiving the very latest evidence based treatment to reduce their risk of death and reoccurrence”.

In chemotherapy staff were praised for being passionate and committed.

The feedback from patients was outstanding. Credit: Clatterbridge

In radiotherapy, the inspectors reported the equipment and techniques “were some of the most advanced in the country”. Here they also found a robust leadership which contributed to a culture of improvement, and said patients were “extremely complementary about the service”.

They added: “We spoke with the parents of a child who was having radiotherapy; they said the treatment and care their child had received was exemplary especially by the specialist radiographer.”

The teenage and young adult unit was singled out for enabling family to stay overnight with patients, and holding monthly peer group meetings, like pizza evenings or afternoon tea.

At their radiotherapy treatment centre in Aintree, the inspectors highlighted a group of volunteers who organised events and activities for patients to improve their well-being.

The inspectors rated end of life care as good, noting the services were led by a dedicated specialist palliative care consultant and team of specialist nurses with a clear vision.

The report also noted the fact the Trust has a “wide portfolio of research and was involved in both treatment and data trials”.

There's also a special mention for Callie, the Wirral centre’s pet therapy dog who visits the wards. Credit: Clatterbridge

Cancer is the loneliest place to be in the world, when you’re standing in a storm alone and wondering what to do and it’s dark and then suddenly you’ve got all these friendly faces looking at you and offering you a hand to get through. That’s what the staff here do, they pull you through or even carry you through the storm which is the darkest time of your life and they lighten it up for you.

– Patient on Delamere Daycase Unit

We are delighted with the overall rating of Outstanding

It recognises the high standard of compassionate care our staff strive to provide for every single patient who comes through the doors.

It's testament to our commitment to transform cancer care in Cheshire and Merseyside. Our new hospital due to open in Liverpool City Centre in 2019 will ensure we are able to continue to be at the forefront of cancer care.

I am very proud of the hard work and dedication shown by all our staff and volunteers. They fully deserve this rating.

However we are always looking to improve in everything we do and we will ensure we learn from all areas of the inspectors’ feedback as we look towards the future and working closely and positively with the community we serve.”

– Andrew Cannell, Chief Executive of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust