Joint working project to improve quality of cancer care

Novartis has announced the launch of The Royal Marsden Partners Cancer Vanguard (RMP) Oncology Pharmacy Service Improvement Joint Working Project. Cancer patients living in North West and South West London will now benefit from the Joint Working Project which will aim to improve the quality of cancer patient care.

The joint working project will help to address increasing demand on the oncology service and will run for up to two years as a pilot with the potential to be expanded across other NHS sites.

Assessing the current oncology pharmacy service functions and skill mix supporting clinical teams, the project will then introduce new models of care to improve the delivery of treatment and enhance the quality and consistency of care for patients.

One in two people will now develop cancer in their lifetime, while recent research showed that cancer care targets are being missed across the UK.

Novartis and the NHS team will combine their expertise, resources, and time to improve patient care in the main solid tumour pathways, including advanced melanoma, breast, lung, and renal cell carcinoma.

The partnership is expected to provide quantifiable improvements for patients including ensuring quick access to appropriate treatments, accurate drug prescription verification. It will also address issues with the delivery of treatments, for instance using a mobile chemotherapy bus service to make access to treatment more convenient for patients.

Central to the Joint Working Project will be the introduction of two new roles, a Consultant Oncology Pharmacist and a New Care Models Pharmacist, who will work in unison to oversee implementation of new models of care. This marks the first project initiated as part of the Vanguard New Models of Care Programme that leverages the role of the pharmacist.

As well as providing benefits to patients, the project will also benefit the RMP by establishing best practice protocols in oncology pharmacy service functions that can be implemented across all nine RMP hospitals. The project will also establish a new weekly Consultant Oncology Pharmacist clinic at the Royal Marsden hospital, to provide enhanced care for patients.

The expected improvements in oncology pharmacy functions will be measured against service standards in the NICE treatment guidelines and the Revised Chemotherapy Measures for the Manual for Cancer Services 2011.

Jatinder Harchowal, Chief Pharmacist and Clinical Director, Medicines Management & Clinical Support Services, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are optimistic that the models being trialled here could lead to a significant impact at a national level for cancer patients.”

Barak Palatchi, Oncology General Manager, Novartis UK & Ireland, said: “We are proud of our collaborations with the NHS, and believe that Joint Working Projects such as this are vital for advancing oncology care and services, ultimately leading to improving cancer patient outcomes.”

This project marks one of 28 Joint Working Projects that Novartis has undertaken with the NHS to date, working in partnership towards the common goal of improving outcomes for patients.