A pioneering one-stop clinic developed by clinicians in Southampton which speeds up access to pain relief and support for cancer patients has been recognised nationally for its success.
The rapid access multidisciplinary palliative assessment and radiotherapy treatment clinic – known as RAMPART – at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust has been shortlisted for the 2018 Health Service Journal award for acute or specialist services redesign.
The category recognises NHS teams and organisations that have made changes to the way they deliver services leading to improvements for patients.
RAMPART is aimed specifically at patients with cancer-related bone pain – known as bone metastases – and now enables them to receive access to a range of specialists in a half-day visit which would previously have required multiple appointments over many weeks.
As part of the novel project, which is led by Dr Paul Fenton, a consultant clinical oncologist at UHS, patients now receive assessments from oncology, radiotherapy and palliative medicine in collaboration with colleagues from occupational therapy and dietetics during one hospital visit.
Previously, this patient group could wait a number of weeks to receive an assessment with specialist palliative care services or radiotherapy treatment, often not seeing therapy or nutritional specialists until the final few months of life.
During the clinic, patients undergo a combined assessment, radiotherapy planning scans and, if required, receive further input from the wider team of experts while waiting for radiotherapy treatment.
Data collected by the team showed that 77% of patients who attended the clinic had occupational therapy and dietetic needs, with the most frequent concerns relating to pain (72%), fatigue (55%), changes in appetite and weight (40%) and breathing difficulties (31%).
At the end of the clinic, patients are given a letter outlining recommendations from all healthcare professionals which can help them with self-management alongside hospital care. After a month, patients receive a follow-up phone call to collect outcome measures and assess if they have further needs.
“RAMPART ensures patients are seen and have their pain and other symptoms addressed as promptly as possible,” said Dr Fenton.
“Preventive rehabilitation interventions are delivered with a focus on improving quality of life as many issues associated with cancer and its treatment can lead to psychological distress and potentially debilitating physical problems.”
He added: “The results of the clinic have been fantastic. We have not only been able to improve timely access to better pain control for our patients but, through wider assessment of needs and intervention from therapists and dietitians, we have been able to address their wider concerns and needs.”
The UHS RAMPART clinic was launched as part of the Health Foundation’s Innovating for Improvement programme. The Health Foundation is an independent charity working to improve the quality of healthcare in the UK. The clinic is also supported by Macmillan Cancer Support.
Posted on Monday 24 September 2018