Consultant oncologists (cancer specialists) from The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust in Merseyside, along with GPs from Airedale in Yorkshire and Southend in Essex, will be trained in having structured, meaningful conversations with people diagnosed with serious illnesses to identify their goals and priorities for care.
Doctor and patient will then agree a treatment plan that meets the patient’s personal needs and wishes and, as far as possible, enables them to achieve their goals and priorities throughout their illness.
It is based on a pioneering approach developed in the USA by Boston-based Ariadne Labs, a not-for-profit research institution that specialises in developing solutions to global health needs.
The training sessions will take place in Merseyside, Airedale and Southend. The doctors involved will then begin having the conversations with suitable patients and will receive ongoing training and support.
The programme will be carefully monitored and evaluated to see if UK patients feel similar benefits to those in the USA and, if so, whether the programme should be rolled out more widely across the NHS.
The UK programme is a partnership between The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust in Merseyside, Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute Liverpool and Ariadne Labs in Boston, USA.
NHS England is funding a one-year pilot that will see GPs in the areas covered by NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG and Southend CCG being trained and using the programme, as well as consultant oncologists from The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.