Royal Gwent & Nevill Hall Hospitals receive top national award for cancer care

ROYAL Gwent and Nevill Hall Hospitals have both received a national award for their commitment to patients living with incurable blood cancer.

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Both hospitals from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board were today presented with the Myeloma UK Clinical Service Excellence Programme (CSEP) Award in recognition of their outstanding care and dedication to patients with myeloma, an incurable blood cancer which claims the lives of 3,000 people in the UK each year.

 

Staff were praised for their efforts to improve patients’ quality of life and eagerness to truly listen to their needs.

 

The accolade, awarded by blood cancer charity Myeloma UK, recognises hospitals’ commitment to raising the bar for treatment and providing compassionate and personalised care.

 

This is the second time Royal Gwent Hospital has received the award, which is only handed to a select few hospitals every four years.

 

Alison Pugh, Macmillan Myeloma Clinical Nurse Specialist, said: “The last few years have been difficult for our patients and our staff, navigating numerous clinic moves and ensuring we provide the best care possible has been a challenge. I am so proud of the team, who have worked together to ensure the upheavals have not affected the care our patients receive – care that is reflected in being awarded the CSEP award. Thank you to Myeloma UK for their ongoing support of our team.”

 

Myeloma is especially hard to spot as the symptoms are often vague and dismissed as ageing or other minor conditions.

 

By the time many patients are diagnosed their cancer has often advanced and they require urgent treatment. This can significantly impact their chances of survival and quality of life.

 

Jess Turner, Clinical Practice Services Programme Manager at Myeloma UK, said: “Myeloma is a complex cancer which can be challenging to manage so we were extremely impressed by both hospitals’ willingness to adapt and offer bespoke care. Staff truly go the extra mile to build trust with patients, understand their needs and take their feedback on board.

 

“For example, patients get to choose whether to have their appointments at Nevill Hall or Royal Gwent Hospital, which not only has financial and logistical benefits in the wake of the cost-of-living crisis but gives them a much-needed sense of control, however seemingly small, over their myeloma journey.

 

“Because myeloma is unpredictable and patients’ health can turn on a dime, the hospitals offer a 24-hour advice line.

 

“To identify and manage any needs and concerns as they arise, Nurse Alison Pugh, who was awarded an OBE for services to haematology and cancer care, also recently started an online questionnaire designed to monitor patients and make sure any potential issue is caught straightaway.

 

“To be able to present this award to both hospitals on our charity’s 25th anniversary has made this occasion even more special and has allowed us to reflect on and appreciate how much headway has been made in the treatment of myeloma over the past two decades.”

 

Brian Harris, from Mitchel Troy, near Monmouth, was diagnosed with myeloma back in July 2012 following a prostate PSA check-up.

 

The tests showed something unusual in his blood. He found out he had incurable blood cancer on his 62nd birthday.

 

“It just happened, there were absolutely no symptoms,” recalled Brian, now 72. “I had never heard of myeloma. It’s devastating when you first get that diagnosis. When you go through chemotherapy you think your body is dying, you feel exhausted for a few weeks but then it all clicks into place, and you feel normal again.”

 

Brian, who worked in the steel industry, received chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant in 2013.

 

Unfortunately, his cancer returned after six years. He’s since had a second stem cell transplant and is now in remission.

 

Over the years, staff at Nevill Hall have been a much-needed support and safety net through the ups and downs of dealing with an incurable diagnosis and intensive treatment.

 

“I know they were there if I needed them,” he said. “When I last had a conversation with the nurses, they said, ‘Ring us up if you’re worried’. I know that if I had a temperature, they’re there for me. It gives you peace of mind.”

 

Brian has not let his diagnosis get in the way of his love of travelling with his fiancée Chantal. In fact, he takes regular trips to Belgium to visit her.

 

“I has not affected my life or the way I live,” he added. “I’m 11 years on from diagnosis and I’ve been lucky. It spurs you on to carry on living. You can’t let it get to you.”

 

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