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Screenshot of a cancer video with the title 'Starting the cancer treatment journey'

To mark Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) day on 26 April the team at Airedale Hospital are showcasing the vital work they do to support patients newly diagnosed with cancer.

Any cancer diagnosis is life changing and the cancer clinical nurse specialists are a cornerstone of the team, often acting as the main point of contact for their patients. They support patients from point of diagnosis and help people understand their test and treatment options. Cancer CNS’s will help signpost people to outside agencies such as Macmillan and Cancer support Yorkshire who help to support people with cancer, psychologically, physically and financially.

As well as face to face care, the nursing team at Airedale provide a virtual support service – accessed after the patient’s in-person appointment.  It includes a series of online videos with a clinical nurse specialist, which provide answers and guidance to anyone who has been diagnosed. The service is on top of the support given in person and over the phone by clinical nurse specialists and care co-ordinators.

This virtual service includes a set of online and easily-downloadable resources to help people cope with challenges that a new cancer diagnosis brings, including dealing with anxieties, getting ready for treatment and how to get additional support from services like Macmillan.

They are available on the cancer services page of the trust website so people can watch them anytime they need, and there is a function allowing them to be shared with family and friends.

The online service gives a number of benefits to patients at a difficult time:

  • Access to specialist advice from their local hospital whenever they want to access it
  • Reassurance of being able to easily share the clinical advice and support with family, friends and carers
  • Easy signposting to support available to them from cancer charities such as Macmillan and Cancer Support Yorkshire

The videos were funded by the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance as part of a programme to encourage digital patient education innovation in the region and feature experienced Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist, Claire Parkinson.  The videos were created by the Working Academy in Bradford, a digital media company within the University of Bradford which employs students and produces video and designs websites and other media.

Wendy Currie, Cancer Services Manager at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says:

“When patients are first told they have cancer it can be overwhelming and they can come out of their appointment having forgotten everything else that was said.  A lot of the time, once they’ve been informed they have been diagnosed with cancer, that’s the only thing they hear within that consultation.”

Wendy continues:

““As well as the care we give in person and over the phone, we wanted to give them a friendly and reassuring face and information they can access after their consultation, anytime they want, day or night, that they can share too with their families, about what will happen next.

We don’t want to overload patients with information in their appointment, so we hope that the guidance and information our team has collated for patients will give them the advice they need, whenever they need it, all from their own hospital.”

Paula Stanley a project manager from the Living With and Beyond Cancer programme in West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance said:

“We were very pleased to support this patient information initiative for patients and their families.   There are huge benefits to patients being able to access health and wellbeing information and support services via secondary care, primary care and in community settings during and after cancer treatment. These are signposted by the clinical nurse specialist team and having the information included in the online information videos is a helpful reminder of what they can access and how to do it.

Patients tell us having information they can find easily and return to when they need to is really beneficial to them. They can access the online information videos in their own time with their families and discuss any information and support needs they have and access help, information and support as they need it from the comfort of their own home”.

To view the virtual service go to: