Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust (NLaG) is strengthening its relationship with Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust (HEY) to ensure patients living on the south bank of the Humber continue to receive safe and sustainable haematology services.
This will expand on the Trust’s long-established arrangements for cancer care and create a regional haematology network, under which more complex cases are provided by HEY at Castle Hill Hospital with outpatient and day case care provided at Grimsby and Scunthorpe.
NLaG already refers the most complicated chemotherapy cases to Hull and, following a decision at today’s Trust Board on Tuesday (October 31, 2017), a further group of complex chemotherapy treatments will move from the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital to Hull.
This is initially a temporary arrangement, to ensure the service remains safe, but subject to public consultation (led by the Northern Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Groups), the Trust would propose to make this arrangement permanent.
Also subject to that public consultation, inpatient care will transfer from Grimsby in phase two and equivalent services (complicated chemotherapy and inpatient care) at Scunthorpe will transfer in phase three. Proposed dates for phases two and three will form part of this consultation.
These changes will be the subject of an NHS England-led review to provide assurance that our service will continue to be safe and sustainable.
The Trust is working with transport providers to address any issues that this move may cause for patients.
Dr Stuart Baugh, associate medical director for medicine at NLaG said: “We have been in talks with HEY, which runs the centre of excellence for cancer in this region at Castle Hill Hospital.
“We have long-established links with Castle Hill and our aim is to ensure local cancer patients receive the quality care that they need. This change to the service will affect patients receiving haematological care from the Trust but it will mean that their more complex care needs will be met at a centre of excellence.”
NLaG’s service is set up to run with four consultant haematologists, but it currently has only two and this will soon reduce to one. The service will be supported by locums from the beginning of November but this is not a long-term solution.
Based on current patient numbers, it is anticipated that the new arrangements will affect around 70 people with complex cases a year.
Around 13,000 outpatient and day case haematology appointments will continue to be offered (as they are now) to patients across the Trust. There are no plans for NLaG staff to be transferred outside the Trust as they will focus on delivering the majority of haematology services from NLaG sites.
Haematology patients referred by their GP will continue to be seen at NLaG hospitals for their initial appointments and diagnostic tests. If a patient is then identified as needing complex chemotherapy, a multi-disciplinary team including staff from HEY and NLaG will decide if care should be transferred to Castle Hill’s specialist haematology team.
For patients already receiving a complex chemotherapy treatment, the multi-disciplinary team will discuss where the patient is on the pathway and whether it would be suitable for them to remain under our care – if they are near the end of their treatment, for example.
Patients and carers wishing to find out more about the changes can contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 03033 306518 or email nlg-tr.PALS@nhs.net