Blood test service closer to home for Christie cancer patients is launched

Cancer patients at The Christie are benefitting from a new service closer to home for those who need regular blood tests during their treatment.

The local blood testing service will operate from 11 convenient locations throughout Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Derbyshire using existing Christie local treatment centres, health centres, district hospitals and local hospices. Around 1,000 patients each year are set to benefit.

The locations include Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bolton, Bury, Cheadle, Crewe (Leighton), Little Hulton, Macclesfield, New Mills, Oldham and Winsford.

Patients on drug treatments need to have a blood test prior to treatment. This is to check how their organs are functioning and protein levels, which can also act as markers to see how the patient is responding to treatment.

Previously, many patients had to travel to The Christie’s Withington site for the blood tests, with round trip journeys lasting up to 2 hours.

Margaret O’Neill (73) from Radcliffe, Bury, who is receiving treatment for biliary tract cancer said: “I think this is a brilliant idea and shows that The Christie always puts their patients first and always does as much as possible to make things easier for people with cancer.
“Although I am extremely grateful for my treatment at The Christie, now that I can go to Bury Hospice it is ideal for me as I only live 15 to 20 minutes away from it. I have my blood tests on a Tuesday and my chemotherapy on a Thursday. I require these once a week for 2 weeks and then I have a week off. The time slots for these appointments are made in advance so that everything runs smoothly. 
“My husband, very sadly, has dementia and as I am saving so much travelling time now, this frees me up to spend more time with him and makes a big difference to us both.
“The access and facilities at Bury Hospice are very good and the staff could not be more welcoming. You always get a big smile from the reception staff. There is a really good atmosphere in the room where the treatments take place. All health and safety procedures are strictly adhered to. There is also an excellent cafe on site. It is particularly handy for family and friends, who, out of necessity, have to accompany patients.
“When I found out that I could use the facilities at Bury Hospice, my first question was if I would still retain the same consultant, Professor Valle. I was very pleased to be told that I would. I receive pre-booked calls from members of his team, normally on the week that I am not having treatment. This makes me still feel attached to The Christie although I’m having treatment at the hospice.
“Long may this outreach programme continue. I am so pleased that I can have my treatment at Bury Hospice and would like to thank everyone involved in making this happen.”

Stephanie Hechter, clinical service manager at The Christie added: “Patients are at the heart of everything we do here, and we are always looking for ways to improve services and quality of life for patients. Since 2013, we have been delivering as many of our services as possible closer to where patients live. This includes a network of 13 local treatment clinics in district hospitals, health centres and local hospices and our fast growing ‘At Home’ service where a nurse treats the patient in the comfort of their own home.
“2 years ago, we did a feasibility study, providing a blood testing service for around 100 patients at 4 locations, and the patient feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We are very grateful to The Christie charity for funding this newly expanded service which cannot be funded from NHS funds. When cancer patients are coping with the demands of treatment, simple changes can make all the difference to their lives, especially if they are feeling sick due to treatment.
“The new service will give patients more time at home or, if they are juggling family or work commitments, take some of the anxiety away from having to arrange childcare, time off work, transport, navigating traffic jams or finding a place to park.”

Louise Stimson from The Christie charity commented: “We are delighted to be able to fund this much needed service. We often hear cancer patients saying that they know The Christie is the best place for them but that they wish they didn’t have to travel so far to reach us. The new service will have a big impact on patient wellbeing and we are very proud to be able to fund a scheme that goes above and beyond what the NHS would routinely pay for.”

“The service will ensure that more cancer patients have the same quality experience – whether they are 5 minutes from The Christie or 50 miles away.”

Patients who are eligible to use the new service will be sent information about how to access it. There is an online booking system for patients to choose the most convenient time and location for their blood test or patients can book an appointment by calling 0161 918 7654 if they prefer.

The service will reduce the exposure of vulnerable patients to COVID-19 and other infections, as they will be spending less time in waiting areas and will have less contact with other patients and staff.

In the future, the blood testing service could be extended to 20 locations and could support patients on clinical trials, improving treatment options for even more people and giving more choice.

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England. 

Location

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Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

St Luke’s Hospice

(Winsford)

 

 

Established blood clinic

 

Established blood clinic and SACT

Leighton Macmillan Unit

New blood clinic

 

 

 

 

Bury Hospice

 

 

Established blood clinic and SACT

 

Established blood clinic and SACT

 

Dr Kershaw’s Hospice (Oldham)

Established blood clinic and SACT

 

New blood clinic

 

Established blood clinic and SACT

St Ann’s Hospice (Cheadle)

 

New blood clinic

 

New blood clinic

 

St Ann’s Hospice

(Little Hulton)

New blood clinic and SACT

New blood clinic

New blood clinic and SACT

New blood clinic and SACT

New blood clinic and SACT

Altrincham Wellbeing Centre

New blood clinic

 

New blood clinic

 

New blood clinic

Bolton Hospice

Established blood clinic

 

New blood clinic

 

 

Tameside Macmillan Unit

New blood clinic

Established blood clinic and SACT

Established blood clinic and SACT

New blood clinic

Established blood clinic and SACT

The Christie at Macclesfield

New blood clinic

New blood clinic

New blood clinic

New blood clinic

New blood clinic

New Mills - Arden House Medical Practice

 

Established blood clinic

 

Established blood clinic and SACT

 

Last updated: April 2022