Secondary breast cancer care to be transformed in Lothian

NHS Lothian has become the first in Scotland to appoint an exclusive secondary breast cancer care nurse.

It will employ the full-time specialist dedicated to improving care for women with secondary breast cancer, to revolutionise services north of the Border.

The nurse will take up post early in the new year to help patients manage their complex needs, including health fears and financial worries, which are often very different from a first-time diagnosis.

NHS Lothian is the only health board in the country and one of only a handful in the UK to have implemented such major service change to improve care for its patients.

Emma Bennett, Lead Breast Care Nurse at Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, said the secondary breast cancer care nurse would make a real difference to the lives of hundreds of women.

She added:

“Our new system will be up and running early next year to ensure women with a secondary diagnosis receive the level of care and support they deserve.
“We listened to women with secondary breast cancer to discover exactly what they wanted, needed and expected from their health service to allow us to tailor a system designed solely for them.”
The announcement comes as new research shows that many women are not receiving enough support when they receive a secondary diagnosis.
The study from Breast Cancer Care claims patients do not have access to a named individual who can offer medical advice and offer support through their journey, compared with women who are diagnosed for the first time.
But NHS Lothian is determined to tackle the problem and has already begun transforming the service in Scotland.
The new post is part of a wide-ranging investment package from NHS Lothian designed to improve breast cancer care services across the area.
The specialist will be based at the Western General Hospital and will also work with patients being treated at St John’s Hospital in Livingston.