Thanks to the generosity of a member of our community, our charity is funding a new ‘Enhanced Supportive Care’ (ESC) Nurse Lead role for cancer patients.

Nikki Macfarlane joined us in the newly developed position of ‘Enhanced Supportive Care Lead’ in March this year. This new role, which is being funded by our Charity, thanks to a generous legacy gift left in their will from a patient and is already making a real difference to our oncology patients.

 ‘Enhanced Supportive Care’ (ESC) is a new concept, being rolled out nationally, which offers additional support to patients with incurable (but treatable) cancer at the point of diagnosis. ESC ensures that patients have early access to specialist support, including symptom management, advanced care planning and ‘treatment benefit versus burden’ discussions. 

This funding is enabling the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust to pilot a new ESC clinic on the University Hospital Lewisham site. The service will initially be available for breast and colorectal patients only, but it’s hoped that if successful we will be able to offer this service to all patients with incurable but treatable cancer. 

Nikki Macfarlane, Enhanced Supportive Care Lead says: “My role as the lead nurse running the clinic will be to proactively assess eligible patients who are referred into the service using a tool called a ‘holistic needs assessment’ (HNA). This gives the patient and the clinician an opportunity to explore any problems they may be facing. They could be a physical symptoms, something practical or emotional worries about finances or trouble sleeping.

"Using a holistic approach means we are treating the patient and not just the disease and this can really help the patient to focus on what matters to them, a key aspect of personalised care. We can also include family members/carers into our discussions, help with referrals to other services such as physiotherapy or a dietitian and make sure that the patient’s wishes, practical or spiritual, are followed if at any point if they can’t communicate themselves."

There are six key principles to ESC:

          Earlier involvement of supportive care services

          Supportive care teams that work together

          A more positive approach to supportive care

          Cutting edge and evidence-based practice in supportive and palliative care

          Technology to improve communication

          Best practice in chemotherapy care.

Margarita Vidiella, Head of our Charity, says: “We’re so pleased to be supporting this new role, enhancing care and patient experience at LGT. We were touched by this generous gift left in the will by a patient. It is only thanks to such donations that our charity is able to make a very significant, day-to-day difference in the lives of our patients and their loved ones.”

If you'd like to help us continue to fund new initiatives to support our patients and colleagues, then please consider donating, we are so appreciative of your generosity.

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