Improvements in treatment mean that more people live longer with cancer that cannot be cured but can often be treated.

All of those patients, who have yet reached the point where they require specialist palliative services or hospice care, require specific high quality support, tailored to their own specific needs. This may include emotional support that helps them with planning for the future, with practical help and signposting to people and organisations that can help them to live a better quality of life with their diagnosis.

We believe, however, that there are unacceptable variations in access to this support across West Yorkshire and Harrogate. Our Cancer Alliance is working with the Yorkshire and Humber Clinical Leads for Palliative Care - Charlotte Rock, Macmillan Palliative Care Nurse Specialist, and Dr Suzanne Kite, Consultant in Pallative Medicine, to look at gaps in the support offered to patients, family members and carers, after a person has a diagnosis of incurable cancer, to see how these needs can be better met and to develop a proposal of support.

We plan to firstly engage with patients/carers/family members and bereaved family to ask about what worked well in terms of support following an incurable cancer diagnosis and what support was missing. We want to ask about communication and conversations, what information was given, any holistic assessments offered and where people were signposted to support. We want to ask patients and families how this could be improved and how do they think the unmet support needs could be better met.

Click on the picture below to watch and listen to Barbara's experience of palliative care.

In addition to hearing from those affected by cancer, we also have a plan to engage with the workforce in the six local places that make up our Alliance and to begin conversations across the professions - hospital staff, community palliative services, hospice teams, allied health professionals, GPs, carers and others - to hear their views and experiences.

We plan to hold a joint event in February 2019 to share learning from our patient and workforce engagement and to share models of good practice from across West Yorkshire and Harrogate. A report will also be written by March 2019, making recommendations to improve support for this specific group of patients.

Could you help us with this work?

We want to know from patients and their families and carers what support was helpful and what more could have been done. We want to listen and learn from your experiences and views in order to improve our services and support for people living with a palliative cancer diagnosis across our area. All information provided will be completely confidential and anonymous.

To meet with a member of the Cancer Alliance Living With and Beyond Cancer team, or to organise a telephone conversation, please contact us by telephone on 01924 317560 or email WYandH.CancerAlliance@wakefieldccg.nhs.uk

Click here to learn more about our Living With and Beyond Cancer team.