As one of the areas of focus in the national NHS Five Year Foward View, a great deal of Partnership work is going on to improve cancer services in Northamptonshire.

This includes new ways to detect cancers earlier and a renewed focus on improving the overall health and wellbeing of people living with the illness. Here are some examples of what’s currently in the pipeline:

  • A new method of testing for the early signs of bowel cancer is being rolled out across Northamptonshire in early 2019. Faecal Immunochemical Testing (FIT) detects hidden blood in stool samples and is for symptomatic patients aged 60 years and over who see their GP with a change in bowel habit.
  • Kettering General and Northampton General Hospitals are working together to implement the National Optimal Lung Cancer Pathway (NOLCP) to improve outcomes for patients and ensure they have access to the same high standard of care wherever they live in the county. This focuses particularly on initial referrals to treatment and is being developed for implementation by 2020.
  • A new fast-access, one-stop MRI imaging and diagnostic service for men suspected of having prostate cancer is being developed to achieve earlier diagnosis and treatment, reduced waiting times and improved patient experience and outcomes. Phase 1 of the RAPID Prostate Pathway is on track for February 2019 with full implementation by 2020.
  • Enabling people living with cancer to lead as healthy and active a life as possible is about more than the medical treatment they receive – it’s also about taking a more rounded view of their physical and mental health and wellbeing to ensure they get all the care and support they need. A strategy for our Living with Cancer programme is being developed and funding has been received from Macmillan Cancer Support to resource the countywide programme team.