NHS Fife sets up specialist team to help cancer patients

Staff nurse Lynn Robertson, consultant medical oncologist and lead clinician for acute oncology services at NHS Fife Dr Caroline Michie, and staff nurse, Terry-Anne Docherty, taken at the day unit.
Staff nurse Lynn Robertson, consultant medical oncologist and lead clinician for acute oncology services at NHS Fife Dr Caroline Michie, and staff nurse, Terry-Anne Docherty, taken at the day unit.
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Patients requiring chemotherapy for gynaecological cancers are now able to receive their treatment in Fife for the first time.

NHS Fife has made improvements to its local cancer services, which allow patients to be assessed and treated at the haematology/oncology day unit on Ward 34 at the Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy.

Previous arrangements meant patients travelled to the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh for care and the change means they will now be treated closer to home.

NHS Fife has also appointed its first locally-based consultant oncologist, Dr Caroline Michie, who took up post in March and will over-see the development of the new acute oncology service.

A key aspect of Dr Michie’s role has been to set up a team to facilitate the rapid specialist assessment of the needs of patients who are admitted to hospital as emergencies and have been receiving treatment for any cancers; the appointment is the first of its kind in Scotland.

All oncology treatment for Fife patients is overseen by consultants who are predominantly based at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre.

Dr Michie and the acute oncology team already have close links with Edinburgh, which will play a key role in improving patient experiences by progressing inter-hospital communication and the co-ordination of care.

Commenting, consultant medical oncologist and lead clinician for acute oncology services at NHS Fife, Dr Caroline Michie, said: “NHS Fife is committed to improving both the care it provides and the experiences of its patients and feedback has consistently expressed that travelling over the Forth for treatment was an inconvenience; this was particularly the case for those living in central or north east Fife, the elderly or frail, those undergoing long infusions of chemotherapy, or those with transport issues.

“Not only do these improvements directly address this but, due to having fewer patients waiting for an appointment, it is likely the changes will result in shorter waiting times with the added benefit that the day unit in Fife is a quieter environment for patients and visitors.”

“The new acute oncology service will also bring significant benefits to cancer patients, who can have real confidence that we are putting their unique needs at the forefront of care.

“This is a first for Scotland, which shows that NHS Fife is leading the way in providing innovative cancer care in Scotland.”