We need your help to plan the future of Mount Vernon Cancer Centre services.
The NHS in East of England and North London is working together to review the services at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre to resolve concerns around the ageing estate, the support facilities and patient pathways.
Thank you for taking the time to help us.
What is the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre Review all about?
The Mount Vernon Cancer Centre
The Mount Vernon Cancer Centre is run by East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust and delivered from a site in North Middlesex managed by the Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. It is a standalone cancer centre and primarily serves a population of over 2 million people in Hertfordshire, south Bedfordshire, North West London and Berkshire. The patient pathways involve 16 other hospitals and arrangements with 6 other NHS trusts. There is an extremely small number of patients who use the service from other parts of the country.
The Centre provides outpatient chemotherapy, nuclear medicine, brachytherapy and haematology as well as radiotherapy for these populations. There are also inpatient and ambulatory wards.
We are looking at how we can best meet the needs of local people, and develop options that will build on the services, research and patient experience the Centre already delivers.
You will probably have noticed that some of the buildings are not in a good state of repair, and a number of concerns have been raised in relation to the long-term clinical sustainability of the Cancer Centre.
The doctors and nurses at the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre have done a good job in putting things in place to ensure that treatment is high quality and that patients are safe, and the patient survey feedback shows that most patients are happy with the services they receive.
However, the doctors, nurses and managers all agree that a more permanent solution needs to be found to ensure the sustainability of the services in the long term.
As well as ageing buildings, there are limited support facilities on site. For example, there are no high dependency or intensive care beds so patients who become very poorly are sent in an emergency ambulance to Watford General Hospital.
This limited support at the site creates challenges for the patient pathway, and you may have experienced, or know someone who has experienced, having treatment in a number of different places because of this. As cancer treatment becomes more advanced and as demand for cancer treatment grows, this is becoming more of an issue for patients at Mount Vernon.
Some newer treatments and research trials have high levels of toxicity, and whilst the benefits in treating cancer might be greater, there is more risk of side effects that require the right care. Without the support of services such as high dependency or intensive care, patients will not have access to the latest cancer treatments.
As people live longer, more people with cancer are also living with other illnesses or conditions which require treatment alongside their cancer treatment. This cannot be done at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre.
In developing the options, we have heard from doctors and nurses and are talking to other hospitals in the areas and other organisations that use the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre. We are also arranging some events to hear from patients.
We have already looked at existing patient feedback on the services to see what patients think is good and what does not work so well, and we have held a number of workshops and interviews to find out more about what people think. We are working closely with Healthwatch Hertfordshire and Healthwatch Hillingdon who are helping us arrange patient events and patient surveys and will be running more patient and carer events to help ensure patients and carers help design what future services will look like.
Where we are now
We are undertaking patient and public engagement, as well as talking to staff and other stakeholders, to develop options for the future services. We will shortlist the options using criteria that patients have helped create. We hope to have our shortlist by Christmas 2020.
Through October and November, we are hosting a series of online focus groups to look specifically at the Clinical Pathways – the details of your cancer journey. We are asking for the views of current and former patients, their carers and families, on what works and does not work with the current pathways, and what the options may be to improve them.
We are also keen to engage with those who may not have access to the internet for any reason – please send us their details and preferred method of communication.
There are a number of documents you may find useful to help you learn about the review. Below you can find the Independent Clinical Report and the Patient Engagement report for the first phase of the review. There is also the latest update. For more information you can also visit www.https://www.england.nhs.uk/east-of-england/nhs-england-and-nhs-improvement-east-of-englands-work/mount-vernon-cancer-centre-review/