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New charity partnership launched to improve experience of UHNM blood cancer patients

Patients diagnosed with blood cancer now have access to a better range of support services thanks to a new charity partnership.

University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) has become the first NHS Trust in England to partner with Blood Cancer UK to trial a new referral tool aimed at improving access to a range of emotional and practical support.

In addition to supporting patients after diagnosis, staff at the Royal Stoke University Hospital’s Cancer Centre are now able to offer a referral to Blood Cancer UK’s range of support services.

It’s hoped thousands of newly-diagnosed blood cancer patients will benefit from the trial which launched at the beginning of March.

Dr Neil Phillips, Consultant Haematologist at UHNM said: “Receiving a diagnosis of blood cancer is an anxious and bewildering experience, and many people aren’t able to access the necessary support available, particularly those in marginalised communities.

“After working with Blood Cancer UK on a number of previous projects, we were approached by the charity to help test a quick and easy referral tool designed to help people recently diagnosed with blood cancer feel more informed, prepared and connected not only here in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, but across the UK.

“This new referral tool will be used to compliment the support that is already offered by our UHNM staff to help make sure our patients receive the best possible care and experience.”

UHNM was chosen to test the referral tool by Blood Cancer UK due to the diverse range of communities it serves.

Zoe Kelsall, Lymphoma Clinical Nurse Specialist at UHNM, said: "After being referred to the charity, the patient will be contacted by Blood Cancer UK through their preferred contact method, and will be offered support and information over a seven week period about a range of practical and well-being topics, to help them adjust and live with blood cancer.

“We feel fabulous and excited to have been chosen by Blood Cancer UK to pilot this project. It’s a big achievement and puts UHNM on the map.

“We do such good work here, we’re a dedicated bunch of staff who are all very passionate about our patients and providing them with the best possible care, and we’re hoping that this project will lead onto more opportunities for the benefit of those we serve.”