Blog about the MSCC service

Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression in Hong Kong

Lena Richards - Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression Coordinator

25 Oct 2017

Lena with the team in Hong Kong

I am the Lead Network Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression (MSCC) Coordinator at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust. I have been part of the MSCC steering group in Greater Manchester and Cheshire from the beginning and helped to develop local guidelines, MSCC pathway and the ‘Red Flags’ alert card.

MSCC in Chai Wan, Hong Kong

In September 2017, I was invited by the Institute of Advanced Nursing Studies in Hong Kong to present a commissioned training program on the care of cancer patients with suspected and confirmed MSCC. Prior to the teaching sessions, I also delivered a presentation to a multidisciplinary audience for the Mr & Mrs HM Lui Memorial Lecture at the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in the Hong Kong East Cluster, Chai Wan.

The invite was a nice surprise following discussions with Mr Wai Man Ling, Nurse Consultant, of the Cancer Centre within the East Cluster of Hong Kong Island. Wai Man undertook an educational visit at The Christie in February 2016 and was so impressed by the coordination of our MSCC service he asked me to visit and provide guidance to assist in the development of a national MSCC network.

Questions for our MSCC coordinator

The training program

The teaching sessions were hosted by the Princess Margaret Hospital, which is a major acute general hospital in south Kwai Chung, Kowloon West Cluster. The two courses were attended by 50 nurses in each group, ranging from medical, orthopaedic, oncology, haematology and palliative care nurses from all the clusters and cancer centres in Hong Kong. There was a real sense of commitment from the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong who had approved the funding for the teaching. The course was attended by senior nurses at managerial, operational and clinical level as well as less experienced nurses who benefitted from learning how to care for patients with MSCC.

Lena presenting at the Mr & Mrs Lui memorial lecture

A data driven approach to care

The MSCC service that was developed at The Christie, covering Greater Manchester & Cheshire (Manchester Cancer) is the first of its kind in the UK and probably the world. It is a gold standard model for managing patients with MSCC. Many hospitals throughout the UK and abroad have approached us to advise them on how to set up a similar service as ours. Some examples of these are the Royal Marsden, Clatterbridge, Northern Ireland, Wales and Hong Kong Hospitals.

Our data has demonstrated a service which works well with coordinated care for all patients ensuring timely treatment and rehabilitation and saving time for clinicians and surgeons. We have developed very close links and an excellent working relationship with our colleagues at Salford Royal and this has resulted in a significant increase in surgery for these patients (more than trebled since the launch of the service). Our recently analysed data shows very encouraging figures based on our survival curves and our median overall survival for patients who received surgery is significantly higher than the best published world-wide data (Patchell 2005 and Fehlings 2015).

The 2nd cohort of MSCC students

Improving outcomes internationally

All in all, this was a very positive experience. I am really keen to check in with Wai Man and the team in a few months to see how they are progressing and find out how much of an impact it is having on patient outcomes

Find out more on metastatic spinal cord compression

The Manchester MSCC service based at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust provides a single point of contact for primary, secondary and tertiary care. We offer advice and coordination in the care of patients with suspected and confirmed MSCC in Greater Manchester and Cheshire. You can find out more here

Lena is also part of the committee that organise an annual study day on metastatic spinal cord compression. To find out details about this year's event please email education.events@christie.nhs.uk or visit our study days page

Education and training for international audiences

The Christie School of Oncology has a range of international offerings available: including organised visits, observerships and bespoke education delivered in-country. All offerings are tailored to meet the specific needs of the organisations through the good auspices of our international education team. We are able to undertake assessments of training and education needs and offering a range of solutions to the challenges of providing high quality, cost-effective, education and training which meets the needs of modern healthcare.

For further information, please email robert.boyle@christie.nhs.uk

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