The Christie’s pioneering bloods closer to home service has been shortlisted for a prestigious national Nursing Times Award.
The service, which is funded by The Christie charity and run by Christie staff, operates from 10 convenient locations across Greater Manchester and Cheshire. The service is available at The Christie’s 3 local radiotherapy treatment centres (in Oldham, Salford and Macclesfield), as well as health centres, district hospitals and hospices.
Patients can book their own appointments online at a time that suits them, rather than relying on someone doing it for them. The team has taken over 6,000 samples since April 2022.
Patients on drug treatments need to have a blood test before 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.
“All in all, taking a blood sample takes less than a couple of minutes, but some patients had to do a two-hour roundtrip to get to our Withington site. When you have to get frequent samples taken, that can be draining,” commented Rachel Rathbone, a senior nurse in the bloods closer to home team. “We’ve now drastically cut down travel time for many of our patients, which I know means a lot to them.
“At the beginning, the bloods closer to home service was only available for people who were having treatment at the Oak Road Treatment Centre at The Christie in Withington, but it’s been so successful that we’ve now made it available for lots of other Christie patients,” continued Rachel. “As a result, the number of samples we’ve taken has doubled in just 3 months. I’m so glad to see it making such a difference to so many people.”
Joyce Crook, a melanoma patient from Bolton, said: “I think it’s a brilliant idea and shows that The Christie always puts the patient first and does as much as possible to make things easier for people with cancer.”
Joyce added: “I used to have to travel for up to an hour each way for a really short appointment. It’s much easier now that I can get my bloods done at Bolton Hospice, which is much closer to home. It frees up my time to do more of what I enjoy. I’m so happy to hear that the team has been shortlisted for an award, and I really hope they win.”
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 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 fund.”
The Christie has been shortlisted in the Cancer Nursing category. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on Wednesday, 26 October 2022.
The local blood testing service is part of The Christie’s wider ‘closer to home’ treatment service. This includes treatment in locations across Greater Manchester and Cheshire, as well as in patients’ homes.