Lung cancer patients in South Tyneside receive among best treatment in country, says data

Staff in the lung cancer multi-disciplinary team at South Tyneside District Hospital.

Staff in the lung cancer multi-disciplinary team at South Tyneside District Hospital.

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Lung cancer patients in South Tyneside receive some of the best treatment in the country, according to new data.

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust has been identified as a top performer by a national programme aimed at achieving earlier diagnosis of the disease.

It is an honour to have been given a chance through the ACE programme to share our best practice

Dr Liz Fuller

The trust will now share its expertise to help NHS England Accelerate, Co-ordinate, Evaluate (ACE) initiative, which is supported by Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.

South Tyneside is one of 14 Trusts – and the only one in the northern region – identified by ACE through 2014 data as performing well against the national cancer targets of patients waiting a maximum of 31 days for first treatment following diagnosis.

On average, the local wait is no more than 24 days, while patients wait a maximum of 62 days to begin their first treatment following an urgent referral for suspected cancer from their GP.

Lung cancer patients benefit from a ‘one-stop’ clinic at South Tyneside District Hospital that not only streamlines the assessment process, but also reduces the anxiety patients can experience in the lead-up to diagnosis and treatment. Patients are always seen in the clinic within two weeks of referral.

Consultant respiratory physician Dr Liz Fuller, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s lung cancer lead, said: “It is an honour to have been given a chance through the ACE programme to share our best practice.

“The lung cancer service in South Tyneside has improved considerably in recent years, with more patients being referred for surgery, which is the gold standard treatment for early stage lung cancer, and others being offered new, effective treatments.

“We have a small team but every member – from nurses, consultants and the multi-disciplinary team co-ordinators to the staff who track the patient’s journey and the secretaries – cares about each individual patient and is always ready to go the extra mile.

“We are also fortunate to have fantastic support from the radiology department and the trust’s management.”