New pledge benefits cancer patients in Lothian

​Patients are set to reap the benefits after working together with staff to help enhance breast cancer services in NHS Lothian.

The Edinburgh Breast Unit, supported by Breakthrough Breast Cancer Service Pledge, carried out a comprehensive survey, using patient questionnaires and one-to-one interviews, to gather information about cancer patients’ experiences.

The team were pleased to find that the overall feedback was positive and as a result of the findings additional changes have been put in place to help enhance the quality of the service.

Emma Bennett, Lead Clinical Nurse Specialist (Breast Care), Edinburgh Breast Unit, Western General Hospital, said: “As a result of this pledge we have made additional changes to the service including allocating a specific car park for cancer patients, revising patient information leaflets and providing additional support options for chemotherapy patients.”

“The team have also implemented an innovative new pager system to help reduce waiting times for patients attending the one-stop breast clinic.

“The good thing about having a one-stop breast clinic is that anyone with a suspicion of breast cancer can have all their tests carried out on one day.

“However it meant that there may have been some waiting around. Thanks to the feedback we received we now give patients a pager so that they can wait in the WRVS café rather than having to remain in the waiting room area.”

Elaine Anderson, Clinical Director for Breast Services, Western General Hospital, NHS Lothian, said: “We are constantly looking at ways of improving what we do and making our services more accessible for patients.

“We pledged to use patient feedback to enhance service quality and become more in touch with experiences. These improvements will benefit patients now and in the long term and will help us to provide the best level of service we can.”

Audrey Birt, Scotland Director of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: “It’s important women receive the highest standard of care during treatment for breast cancer and the Service Pledge works with the local NHS to provide a positive experience for patients based around their needs. We are delighted that NHS Lothian have embraced the Service Pledge and implemented the commitments at the Edinburgh Breast Unit to improve the patient experience for women across the Lothians.”


Notes to Editors

  • The Edinburgh Breast Unit is based at the Western General Hospital and treats more than 20,000 women each year, including the diagnosis and treatment of around 800 new breast cancer cases.
  • NHS Lothian was one of the first health boards in Scotland to adopt and implement Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s Service Pledge and is now involved in scoping work for a national pilot of the initiative in secondary breast cancer services.

Kirstin Aitken

Communications Officer

NHS Lothian

Tel. 0131 465 5644