Almost 1,500 hospital appointments at Europe's leading cancer centre, The Christie have been made available in the last 12 months, following the launch of its specialist care in the community service for prostate cancer patients.
The service was launched so that prostate cancer patients from The Christie have the option of follow-up appointments in their local communities, sparing them the time and effort of travelling to The Christie's main site in south Manchester.
The specialist cancer centre, launched the new service after a successful pilot in March last year. It was then granted funding by the charity Prostate Cancer UK. The clinics initially started running in Sale one morning a week, then proved so popular that the service quickly expanded to Ashton-under-Lyne, Bury and Macclesfield. Further expansion of the service is also planned with a clinic at Beechwood Cancer Centre in Hazel Grove due to open this month.
The clinics are staffed by Christie specialist nurses who travel from The Christie's main site to each location once a week to deliver care to patients in the community.
Clinical nurse specialist at The Christie, Helen Johnson, said: "The clinics have been very popular and successful so far and we've had great feedback from patients. We have already more than doubled the reach of the service since it started and are looking to expand even further.
"Patients are receiving the same high quality Christie care but much closer to where they live which just makes life so much easier for them, particularly for those that don't have their own means of transport.
"If patients do develop more complex needs, they are of course referred to the appropriate team at our main site.
"The follow up appointments consist of monitoring patients for signs of relapse, supporting them with any post-treatment side effects, as well as offering a full holistic assessment of their needs including helping them deal with any psychological issues and preparing them for life after cancer.
Helen concludes: "We aim to ensure patients are seen by the same member of the clinical team at each appointment to promote continuity of care and develop a good rapport between clinician and patient. These clinic appointments are also longer than in the hospital setting giving men more opportunity to discuss concerns or problems they might have."
One patient who has benefited from the service is Peter Collier, 78 from Brooklands, who has his appointments at the centre in Sale. Peter was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010 and initially had to travel to the main Christie site in Manchester for his treatment.
He said: "When the service came available, I jumped at it. The appointments are much easier to get to and it shows just how much The Christie really thinks about and cares for its patients by offering things like this.
"It has made such a difference to me. There's no hassle with busy traffic, parking or having to rely on public transport. I can't speak highly enough of the staff and services at The Christie."
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK with over 40,000 men diagnosed with the disease every year.
These prostate clinics build on the services The Christie already offers closer to patients' homes through its mobile chemotherapy unit and its radiotherapy centres in Oldham and Salford.
Executive director of nursing & quality at The Christie, Jackie Bird, said: "We initially introduced this service as a pilot so we could see how beneficial it would be to patients. Within just a few months the clinics proved so popular we made them permanent and extended the service to additional locations.
"As treatments for prostate cancer continue to improve and survival rates rise, there's an increasing need for after care to support patients in getting their lives back on track. By providing this service in the community, it means we also have greater capacity at our main hospital site for patients with more complex healthcare needs or for those with a new cancer diagnosis."