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Improving access to innovative cancer treatments for North Manchester residents

17 Dec


by Andrew Wardley, Medical Director of NIHR / CRUK, Christie Research Facility

A new collaboration of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Manchester Clinical Research Facility and NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre aims to improve access to the latest cancer treatments and clinical trials to people in the North East of Greater Manchester.

The NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility (CRF) is the largest and most comprehensive Clinical Research Facility in the UK, trialling research discoveries for the first time in humans through experimental medicine. The NIHR Clinical Research Facility at The Christie is a centre of excellence for cancer research studies.

Recent work shows that there is three times more research participation in affluent areas close to the four Clinical Research Facility sites in Greater Manchester than in more deprived and/or ethnically diverse areas.

Systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT), which is chemotherapy and other molecular-targeted treatments, have greatly improved the chances of surviving cancer in the last two decades. The Christie, the largest single site cancer centre in Europe, provides chemotherapy and targeted treatments to people through Greater Manchester and parts of Cheshire through the Greater Manchester Cancer SACT pathway. In 2011 there was a major strategy to increase delivery of these treatments closer to where patients live, reducing the challenges they face to access treatment. The greatest challenge to improving access affects the more deprived and/or ethnically diverse parts of Greater Manchester.

Access to innovative new treatments in clinical trials extends and improves the length and quality of life for cancer patients. Current chemotherapy patient, Anna Friedenthal, says:

“Over the last 15 years I have taken part in five clinical trials at The Christie. I firmly believe that without these trials I would not be here today. They are our hope for the future – mine, my children’s as well as so many other families in similar circumstances. I feel so lucky to be a patient at The Christie, it is such a centre of excellence in every way.”

The lack of access to innovative cancer treatments affects members of the population that are least able to navigate the healthcare system. This represents a patient safety issue. We aim to reduce this social inequality and increase access to cutting edge cancer medicines by reaching all of Greater Manchester’s population. Specifically we will provide experienced cancer leadership to work with local health care and community teams to educate and facilitate access to the very best treatment innovations.

Safety Informatics lead elected to American College of Medical Informatics

16 Nov

ACMI Award NP_cropped

Safety Informatics lead Niels Peek was recently elected to membership in the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI). This is a college of elected Fellows who have made significant and sustained contributions to the field of medical informatics. It is the central body for a community of scholars and practitioners who are committed to advancing the informatics field. The membership award was handed out during the annual symposium of the American Medical Informatics Association in San Francisco, 3-7 November 2018.

REVISiTing GPs in training prescribing to improve medication safety

16 Nov


by Ndeshi Salema

In 2012, the PRACtICe study, funded by the General Medical Council, set out to determine the prevalence and nature of prescribing and monitoring errors in general practices in England. The PRACtICe study found that prescribing errors occur in around one in twenty, or about 5% of the prescriptions. This is important because:

The PRACtICe study also highlighted that, as a group, GPs in training may benefit from further support in prescribing. Further exploratory work took place to identify possible ways to support GPs in training with their prescribing, which resulted in the development of an educational intervention, called REVISiT.

The REVISiT intervention involves:

  • a retrospective review of GPs in training prescribing, which is completed by a pharmacist, followed by
  • individualised feedback on the results of this review in the form of a report, which is discussed in a face-to-face meeting setting.

A small feasibility study of the REVISiT intervention (a retrospective review of approximately 100 prescriptions prescribed by 10 GPs in training) found that 9% of the prescriptions by GPs in training contained an error. The percentage of errors made by GPs in training was much higher than the percentage that was found in the PRACTiCE study, which may be due to the relative inexperience of GPs in training. It also indicated some benefits of the REVISiT intervention in improving the knowledge, skills and attitudes of GPs in training towards prescribing.

Interviews with a variety of stakeholders (healthcare professionals, policymakers, and members of the public) have shown that there is support for REVISiT as an educational intervention that can help improve prescribing, not only for GPs in training but for all types of prescribers. This will enhance the safety of healthcare received by patients.

With funding from the NIHR Greater Manchester PSTRC, the REVISiT intervention is being further developed and tested, in preparation for a trial in the future.

Understanding patient views of online discussion forums to help improve patient safety

16 Nov

close up businesswoman hand holding smartphone touch screen on display for checking work with virtual reality interface for future technology concept

by Sally Giles

A new study exploring patient views on using online discussion forums, to find information relating to side effects from medication, will begin shortly. It is hoped the findings will lead to new ways of improving patient safety.  We know many people with long-term conditions use online discussion forums to share experiences and support. The free-text information from online discussions could provide a valuable source of information about side effects from medication.  However, the experiences of those using online forums varies considerably depending on which long-term condition(s) they may suffer from.

In light of this, it is important to understand the views of different groups of patients in relation to sharing information about medication side effects from online discussion forums.  The plan is to conduct 5 focus groups with patients from 5 of the online communities in Health Unlocked, including patients with lung conditions, thyroid disorders, fibromyalgia, mental health issues and rheumatoid arthritis.  We also have a patient and public involvement (PPI) advisory group. This group consists of 6 members of the public who are part of the five online communities. Their role will be to contribute to the design of the study and its materials, as well as involvement in focus group facilitation and analysis. The PPI group will also play a key part in the dissemination of the findings and development of any future work.

If you would like more information about this study, please contact Sally Giles.