Macmillan’s Chief Exec Visits SWASFT Team

The Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support visited a ground-breaking team of ambulance clinicians who have been working on a new joint project which is benefitting patients across the South West who have cancer, palliative care needs or who are close to the end of their life.

Lynda Thomas met the Macmillan Innovation Excellence finalist project team from South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) this week at Bristol Central Ambulance Station. (2 August)

Lynda heard all about how the ambulance service can now provide improved urgent and emergency care for patients and their loved ones, by either supporting management at home or facilitating referrals to a more appropriate health setting.

“So today has been amazing meeting paramedics and seeing how the team are supporting people with end of life cancer issues, and what difference South Western Ambulance Service is making to people’s lives in the South West and I’m humbled by the professionalism and dedication of the staff, so thank you so much.”

Chief Executive of South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), Ken Wenman, said; “We’re very pleased to have welcomed Lynda to Bristol to meet the team and show her how this ground-breaking project between Macmillan and SWASFT is benefitting patients. Most patients prefer to be treated at home and this project reduces hospital admissions to emergency departments”

“We estimate that in a typical shift, each ambulance crew will attend a patient who has cancer, palliative care needs or who is close to the end of their life. This project enables us to deliver more appropriate care and in many cases, this means treating them at home. This approach enables us to deliver care more in line with patients’ wishes. We do of course still take patients to hospital where that is in their best interests.”

Ambulance services regularly encounter patients with cancer, yet they often have very little training about the illness so may lack the skills and knowledge to provide the best quality care. Sometimes, people with cancer are conveyed to the hospital emergency department when it would be more appropriate for them to remain at home. In the first collaboration of its kind, the South Western Ambulance Service and Macmillan have come together to combat this this gap in education and provision.

Lynda will be hearing first hand some of the feedback directly from the team and listening to the patients’ case studies who have been treated by paramedics in their own homes, along with a show case of the project’s outcomes and benefits.


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