Travel, coordination and support are just some of the issues highlighted in a public survey conducted by Healthwatch Isle of Wight about the Island’s cancer services. 

healthwatch A common theme that features throughout the report was the impact that cross-Solent travel has on patients during a time when they are feeling particularly unwell and vulnerable, with some visits taking up to eight hours per day. Although much appreciation and praise was given about the Daisy bus transport arranged by Wessex Cancer Trust, it was criticised due to the lack of awareness of appointment schedules which ultimately led to people missing out on vital services. It also found that a number of issues surrounding the coordination of services, for example, the transition from moving to one NHS Trust to another was not always smooth and some clinical updates were not always available to professionals. However, there was praise given to caring staff and nurses. Healthwatch revealed that the Macmillan and breast care service received high levels of praise for its level and delivery of knowledge and information, as well as the kindness and compassion carers give to their patients. Loretta Kinsella, Director of Quality and Clinical Services for the CCG said:

“The Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group recently worked with NHS England South Specialised Commissioning to review the radiotherapy and chemotherapy provision for the Isle of Wight residents; the Healthwatch cancer survey was a key element of that review. “The Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group is pleased to receive the full Healthwatch report and recommendations, which provide valuable insight into how we can work together with cancer service providers and our colleagues in Specialised Commissioning (who commission rare cancers, radiotherapy and chemotherapy) to make a meaningful difference to improving patient care. “Since the review and the survey was undertaken, a Cross-Solent Cancer Board has been established which is attended by key staff from the Cancer Unit at the Isle of Wight Trust, the Cancer Centres at University Hospital Southampton Foundation NHS Trust and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and both commissioning organisations. It will be through this new Board that all partners can consider the Healthwatch report and resulting action plan. “We would like to thank Healthwatch Isle of Wight for their support with this important cancer service review”.

Anne Snow, Lead Cancer Nurse for the IOW NHS Trust said:

“We welcome the report from Healthwatch IW and have worked on an action plan with the IOW CCG to address the recommendations made within the report. “As a Trust we continue to strive towards providing a seamless, holistic, high quality service for cancer patients.  This includes those patients who travel to the Tertiary Centres for treatment in Portsmouth Hospital Trust (PHT) and University Health Service of Southampton (UHS). “All three Trusts are committed to improving the patient experience and will continue with close communication to ensure continuity of patient care.”

The full report including the recommendations is available to view here.