July 14, 2022

HCA UK at University College Hospital received top Myeloma UK cancer award for the second time

HCA Healthcare UK at University College Hospital has scooped a national award for its commitment to patients living with incurable blood cancer for the second time.

Our haematology team was presented with the Myeloma UK Clinical Service Excellence Programme (CSEP) Award in recognition of our outstanding care and unwavering dedication to patients with myeloma, an incurable blood cancer which claims the lives of 3,000 people in the UK each year. This is the second time the team at HCA UK at UCH has received the award, which is only handed to a select few hospitals every four years. The team were praised by Myeloma UK for their flexibility and eagerness to adapt to patients’ needs, particularly in response to the pandemic.

Not only did the team go out of its way to switch to online appointments and offer virtual support but the introduction of the MyCare app now allows patients to check test results remotely.

Emma Dowling, Myeloma Clinical Nurse Specialist said:

We are very proud to have achieved this accreditation for the second time. The pandemic and its ongoing uncertainty is especially difficult for myeloma patients. As a team, we make great effort to ensure patients can continue to access treatment, care and support and to minimise infection risk for patients without compromising the standard of care. At the height of the pandemic, care pathways changed by means of telephone clinics, weekly email information bulletins and by moving our longstanding monthly myeloma support group to a virtual platform. For the isolated patients, we wanted to maintain a sense of community and reassurance. We continue to focus on ensuring that patients and their families are fully supported, and we are delighted this has been recognised as part of this accreditation.”

Myeloma is especially hard to spot as its symptoms are often vague and dismissed as ageing or other minor conditions. By the time many patients are diagnosed, their cancer has advanced and they require urgent treatment. This can significantly impact their chances of survival and quality of life.

The accolade, awarded by charity Myeloma UK, recognises the teams commitment to raising the bar for treatment and providing compassionate and personalised care to patients.

Award from Myeloma UK to HCA UK at UCH 
Image L-R: Heidi Tolchard, Chief Nursing Officer, Nuno Correia Clinical Nurse Specialist, Emma Dowling
Clinical Nurse Specialist & Dr Suzanne Renwick Head of Clinical Practice Services at Myeloma UK

Flora Leonard, Clinical Practice Services Senior Projects Officer at Myeloma UK, said:

Myeloma is a complex cancer which can be challenging to manage at the best of times, so we were extremely impressed by the haematology team’s willingness and ability to offer bespoke care and make sure no patient is left behind, particularly at the height of the pandemic.

“The team now links electronic records to the MyCare App, allowing patients, who have a weakened immune system and are at higher risk of catching COVID-19, to view blood test results and appointment information from the safety of their own home.

“Clinical nurse specialists Emma Dowling and Nuno Correia also run a monthly virtual support group for patients and have now set up another support group for carers.

“Nothing is ever too much and each and every one at HCA Healthcare UK at University College Hospital works really hard to support those affected by myeloma.”

Patient Solomon Alexis, from Purfleet-on-Thames in Essex, was diagnosed with myeloma back in 2018 at the age of 54 and has been receiving care from HCA UK at University College Hospital ever since.

“They’re excellent and extremely responsive,” said the 58-year-old, who has since received chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant and is now in partial remission. “I would normally send them a text message and get a response within 15-20 minutes. If there’s a need for the consultant to call, they’ll call me back, whatever the issue.

“Myeloma can be confusing and things can go in one ear and out the other, but even if I ask them the same question a million times a million different ways they will answer it. The time they take with me, but not just me – I see them doing it with everybody – the respect they give us, it is fantastic.”

“Just today I was in hospital and someone said he couldn’t come yesterday and he was trying to get another appointment today. They just said, ‘Hold on, we’ll find you a spot’. Things happen in life and they understand that. It just shows you the care and professionalism you get from everybody.”

Above all else we are committed to the care and improvement of human life, and this means continuously striving for the very highest standards of care. This is reflected through the latest Myeloma CSEP accreditation, JACIE accreditation and the CQC Outstanding rating held by the team at HCA Healthcare UK at University College Hospital.

HCA UK at University College Hospital received top Myeloma UK cancer award for the second time
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