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£1.4 million investment to help GP surgeries improve cancer support


Yorkshire Cancer Research is investing £1.4 million in a care improvement guide to help GPs and practice nurses improve support for cancer patients and carers.

Miriam Johnson, Professor of Palliative Medicine at Hull York Medical School and Director of the Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre at the University of Hull, will lead the four-year project to develop this guide.

The guide will be designed to help identify and manage important needs and concerns and tested in 54 GP practices mainly in the Yorkshire and Humber region. More than 1,000 cancer patients from the region will be involved in the trial, and each patient will have the opportunity to invite a family member or friend who provides care to take part.

Professor Johnson said: “It is recommended internationally that cancer patients receive early supportive and palliative care according to need, not prognosis. However, access to relevant services is not being consistently offered. Unmet needs such as poor symptom control, leading to psychological distress and carer exhaustion, are common. This can lead to hospital admissions throughout the patient journey.

“Innovative ways of identifying patient and carer needs systematically, making efficient use of relatively scarce resources, are desperately needed. This guide will help GPs and nurses to have structured conversations with their patients so they can check for and address problems. As well as improving quality of life, there is some evidence that early involvement of palliative care in cancer may improve survival.”

Just 6 in 10 patients taking part in the 2017 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey agreed that the GPs and nurses at their general practice did everything they could to support them while they were having cancer treatment. Only 6 in 10 participants agreed that doctors and nurses gave patients’ families or someone close to them enough information to help care for them at home1.


“We want to ensure that people with cancer in Yorkshire, and the loved ones who help them, have access to the best possible care and support. To achieve this, we also need to support our GPs and practice nurses in discovering and addressing distressing symptoms, worries and concerns.”

Dr Kathryn Scott, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research

Professor Una Macleod, Dean of Hull York Medical School and a practising GP welcomed this investment. She said:

“Cancer incidence, mortality and survival rates are often worse for those living in Yorkshire than across England as a whole, and they are especially bad in Hull. We know that GPs and practice nurses have a critical role to play in not only supporting patients but also those who are caring for them at home. This project will help GPs and practice nurses support parents and carers, help reduce inequalities in access to much needed support and ultimately enable us to improve the experiences for those cancer patients and their carers in our region.”

Hull York Medical School and the University of Hull are committed to improving the lives of patients within the region. The Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre is at the heart of the University of Hull’s £28 million health campus. Made possible by a £2.4 million investment by the Wolfson Foundation, the Centre aims to improve the quality of people’s lives and reduce inequality in palliative care. Professor Miriam Johnson is Director of the Centre and Professor of Palliative Medicine at Hull York Medical School. She has, together with her fellow researchers, been at the forefront of internationally recognised work on palliative care research for a number of years. The Centre will build on this work and help to establish the University of Hull and Hull York Medical School as world leaders in this field.

The University’s Faculty of Health Science is also a successful and innovative research environment – an outstanding 87% of the University’s health research was classed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the most recent UK national assessment (REF2014).

Research facilities include our £28 million Health Campus, our PET Research Centre and the Daisy Research Laboratories at Hull's Castle Hill Hospital. We conduct research that demonstrates internationally excellent outputs with sustained impact on health in its widest form.

For Professor Julie Jomeen, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, this continued investment by Yorkshire Cancer Research reflects the high calibre of research undertaken at Hull. She said:

"We are committed to improving health outcomes within our region and undertaking interdisciplinary research in areas where there is real need – such as chronic disease and long term conditions as well as maternal and reproductive health, psychology, wellbeing and mental health. This continued investment by Yorkshire Cancer Research reflects not only the high quality of our research but also our impact. We look forward to working with Yorkshire Cancer Research to continue to improve the outcomes of patients living with cancer within this region.”


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