Life saving clinic at coastal hospital helps first ever patient with cancer diagnosis

A new clinic to assess people with lumps on their neck has been opened at the James Paget University

A new clinic to assess people with lumps on their neck has been opened at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

A life-saving clinic targeting early signs of cancer and other illnesses had an immediate impact after the first patient through its doors was diagnosed.

The new clinic has been set up at James Paget Hospital, Gorleston, and opened in August in an effort people who have found a lump in their neck.

The first patient to be asssessed by the clinic was immediately sent for testing, and swiftly placed on a treatment programme.

In just 22 days the cancer patient was able to undergo a treatment plan involving radiotherapy and concomitant chemotherapy.

The time from referral to treatment plan was six days fewer than the new 28-day Faster Diagnosis Standard protocol and is an illustration of how quickly things can progress for patients via the clinic.

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Christopher Speed, from Gorleston, was another early patient at the clinic and said: “The whole team made me feel very relaxed and, while I’d felt a little anxious coming into hospital during Covid, you can see all the precautions that have been put in place including the new sinks, hand-sanitisers and separate areas and realise the steps that are being taken.

“I was really surprised – I hadn’t expected everything to be done that quickly, I was just expecting a consultation particularly as with Covid I had expected everything to take longer – I was thinking it might be Christmas before I had an operation.

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“Now I’ve already had the operation, and although I will need more treatment, the support I’ve had from the ENT team has been amazing too, with calls every other day checking I’m okay and asking if I have any questions.”

Nikki Szomjas, James Paget Head and Neck Clinical Nurse Specialist - who has been instrumental in establishing the clinic said: “This has been something we have wanted to do for some time and is key to ensure patients are diagnosed and told what their neck lump is within 28 days.

“Referrals are triaged to make sure patients can be brought in to the next available clinic.

“At the moment we can see four new patients and two follow up patients at each clinic and this allows us to fast track those who need further tests.”

The advice from the hospital to patients is if you find a lump on your neck, contact your GP as soon as you can for an early diagnosis.

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