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Our Macmillan Unit retains its high standards

The Macmillan Unit at our hospital has scored highly in its MQEM (Macmillan Quality Environment Mark) accreditation reassessment, maintaining an overall score of 4 (very good) and retaining its high standards.

While the overall score has remained the same, pleasingly some of the inspected domains have improved.

The unit, which includes ward G1, the Macmillan Day Unit, Macmillan outpatients and the Macmillan information and support centre, was inspected, assessed and scored for the following quality standards: 

  • Design and use of space – level 4, very good
  • The user’s journey – level 5, excellent
  • Service experience – level 5, excellent
  • The user’s voice – level 4, very good.

Macmillan’s quality standards of excellence consider the cancer care physical environment and reflect the views and expressed wishes of people with cancer.

Nicky McKee, Macmillan information and support centre manager, said: “We are delighted with the outcomes of our most recent MQEM accreditation, in particular the areas where we scored excellent because they directly involve patient experience and feedback. We strive to provide a quality environment for all our cancer patients, whatever stage of their treatment and care journey, and will continue to make improvements as a result of feedback and recommendations in the report.”

Noted improvements since the last inspection include: 

  • Redecoration of the unit ensuring a light and airy feel
  • Adaptation of the reception desk to make it more user friendly
  • Improved seating and greater access in the waiting room
  • Provision of an acute oncology service to ensure ill patients are reviewed and assessed in a more timely manner
  • Removal of a bed from the day service area and replacement with a treatment chair to provide better use of space and increased privacy
  • Introduction of end of life companions for inpatients
  • Development of more targeted information provision for users
  • Refurbishment of well-maintained garden areas and upgrading of pathways leading to the unit
  • Introduction of a storage system and suitable racking to ensure disposable equipment is more effectively managed
  • Development of a staff room
  • Transfer of paper patient records to electronic recording.

The report noted: ‘These improvements have had a profound effect on the environment as although throughput of users has increased year on year, the space appeared to be more efficiently used at this assessment.’ It continued: ‘Staff are passionate about the services offered and the care delivered and this was seen clearly during the assessment.’

Steve Dunn, chief executive, said: “This is brilliant news and testament to the hard work and commitment of our Macmillan Unit staff. It takes a lot of hard work to retain the accreditation but they do their utmost to ensure service quality and design of physical space meets patient needs and expectations. It’s fantastic that patients clearly agree.”

In addition to the MQEM assessment, 68% of west Suffolk patients completed the latest National Cancer Experience Survey. The findings of the survey included: 

  • 92% of patients said that, over all, they were always treated with dignity and respect while they were in hospital
  • 95% of patients said that hospital staff told them who to contact if they were worried about their condition after they left hospital
  • 8.8 was the average rating given by patients when asked to rate their care on a scale of zero (very poor) to 10 (very good).

In terms of cancer outcomes, the Trust is sustaining a good record of one year survival for all cancers; the latest reported figure is 74.1%* against an England average of 72.8 %*.

Karen McKinnon, lead cancer nurse, said: “We’re grateful to our patients for providing feedback, it is really important that we hear directly from them so that we can continue to make changes to improve our service to them. Sadly demand for our cancer services is high but we are dedicated to providing high quality and timely care in order to give our patients the best chance of overcoming the disease.”


Nicky McKee, talking with visitors at the WSFT Macmillan Unit

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Nicky McKee, Macmillan information and support centre manager

Nicky McKee, Macmillan information and support centre manager