Children’s cancer unit reviewed by experts

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A SPECIALIST children’s cancer unit in Sheffield has become the first in the country to be reviewed by the National Cancer Peer Review (NCPR) team.

The team visited Sheffield Children’s Hospital to spend two days looking into the care provided for cancer patients and their families.

Consultant haematologist at the hospital trust, Jeanette Payne, said: “We were the first in the country to be assessed in this peer review of children’s cancer services.

“We are delighted to have done well, with our peers having been very complimentary about the care we’re providing for patients.

“We have actions to work on but are very happy to have what is considered to be an excellent service for our children.”

The department sees between 60 and 70 new cancer referrals each year and provides treatment for several more cases.

Three years ago, the Government published standards for children’s paediatric oncology services, with 200 measures against which they would be marked.

Centres needed to meet a set of standards and work towards becoming reviewed by their peers.

Sheffield received £400,000 and spent the fund on improving services as well as developing outreach services to reduce the amount of travelling for patients.

The NCPR team visited in June but have only just published their report.

That report said team work and leadership were “strong” and said the staff were a “hard-working, enthusiastic team”.

Some improvements were recommended in areas including the recording of workload and duties.

Dr Payne added: “It was a useful experience to be assessed by other people from our profession in this way and it has encouraged us to work harder on our recording methods regarding best practice and workload.

“But the most important factor for us is patient care and our level of clinical skills. This was judged to be very high so we’re extremely pleased.”