Cancer care innovation wins dermatology team award

Dr Chris Barben, Executive Medical Director, presents the team with their trophy

Innovation has been at the heart of healthcare ever since the NHS was founded in 1948.

Pioneered in 1949, using an artificial lens to repair cataracts was one of the earliest with the first total hip replacement done at Wrightington, near Wigan, in 1962.

Today, at Blackpool’s Clifton Hospital, a new approach to the diagnosis of suspected skin cancers is transforming care for patients there – and the dermatology team fought off competition from more than 100 nominations to take the title Clinical Team of the Year at this year’s Blackpool Teaching Hospitals’ annual staff awards.

Skin cancer teams nationally struggle to see all the patients who need care because of a national shortage of specialist clinicians.

Since January 2021, a medical photographer runs every clinic and is assisted by either a staff nurse or a health care assistant.

Patients with suspected skin cancer are photographed and the images are reviewed by the lead nurse or doctor within 48 hours. The images need to be of a high enough quality to enable diagnosis, and the medical photography team have worked with clinicians to ensure this.

Presenting the award, Executive Medical Director Chris Barben said: “Working together and thinking outside the box, the service now sees twice the number of patients it did before and is recognised nationally as an exemplar in their specialty.”

The new process has also stopped the cancelling of other routine clinics.

Lead Nurse Jane Sanderson said: “Everybody has contributed to this award and it’s been a whole team effort. We are the only Trust in Lancashire and South Cumbria meeting our targets and are getting a lot of recognition.”

More than 400 nominations were received for the Celebrating Success 2023 staff awards in a year. The ceremony was watched online by thousands of colleagues, family and members of the public. Watch the moment it was revealed the team had won.

The category runners up were Central West Community Therapy Team in Blackpool and the Same Day Emergency Care team at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

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