Agency vows best emergency cancer treatment as oncology service established
Emergency cancer patients in Northern Ireland who attend hospital will receive the best treatment, the Public Health Agency (PHA) pledged.
The country has become the first part of the UK to establish a new acute oncology service.
It is designed to improve the care of people who need to attend hospital outside their normal care programme because of complications of their illness or its treatment.
All health trusts are introducing the service at the same time. Macmillan Cancer Support has invested £1 million over the next four years to fund seven Macmillan acute oncology clinical nurse specialists across all trusts.
Chief executive of the Health and Social Care Board, Valerie Watts, said: "People with cancer in Northern Ireland receive a planned programme of care, which may include surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, from very skilled and experienced members of staff.
"This new service will mean that when patients need to attend hospital for some emergency or unplanned management of their cancer they will receive the same high quality care as provided by their cancer consultant."
The board has invested to recruit a consultant oncologist for Altnagelvin Hospital as part of the workforce associated with development of radiotherapy services there and 30 clinical sessions across the health trusts.
Mrs Watts continued: "We wanted to utilise modern technology and provide the much needed information for hospital doctors and nurses.
"As part of that innovative approach, guidelines for the management of patients who require acute oncology care have been developed as a mobile app for smartphones.
"We are keen for staff to access and use the app."