PERSONAL SERVICE WHEN IT’S NEEDED MOST
A new breast clinic in Blackpool is providing a vital service alongside an unmatched level of personal care, writes Kate Ford. Photography: Roger Moore
During last year’s pandemic, there was UK-wide concern that people with symptoms of non-Covid conditions were unable to access diagnostic services. This often meant that serious problems were not identified and were therefore left untreated.
The women’s health team at Blackpool’s Spire Fylde Coast Hospital were particularly concerned that routine mammograms were being cancelled and that women with worrying symptoms were unable to access the help they needed. In response, they set up a new specialist service dedicated entirely to breast care.
“We were genuinely concerned that routine screening was unavailable and women who had found lumps were often unable to see their own GP, never mind a consultant,” says Hayley Summersgill, business development manager. “Our new clinic can offer diagnostics, advice and treatment very, very quickly.”
The breast clinic, which launched in October, has four specialist breast consultants including one female consultant. Whilst minimal waiting times are one of the benefits of the clinic, what really sets it apart is the incredible personal support and care offered by the team.
Sarah Caine, the clinic’s breast care nurse, plays a vital role in each patient’s care. A nurse for 27 years, who has specialised in breast health for seven years, Sarah was recruited specifically for the new clinic. “If a mammogram is done in the morning, the consultant will review the results immediately and send them straight to me, so I can usually be back in touch with the patient the very same day,” explains Sarah. “If a problem has been identified, I’ll immediately provide the patient with a follow up consultant appointment.”
Our new clinic can offer diagnostics, advice and treatment very, very quickly
Sarah then becomes the patients’ first point of contact for individual support and further information. They will have Sarah’s phone number and can contact her at any time. “Patients can become quite emotional and upset, and Sarah is with them all the way, quite literally holding their hands,” says Hayley.
You don’t need a GP’s referral to access the new service. If you have any concerns about your breast health, you can ring Spire Fylde Coast on the number below and speak to one of their advisors.
Some women are concerned about their family history of breast cancer and may be considering having the test for the BRCA (breast cancer) gene. In these circumstances, the Spire team will arrange for them to see a specialist consultant to talk through their options. Whatever the reason for coming, patients will receive the highest quality of individual care.
“I consider it a privilege to do this job. I cherish each patient and want to make sure they get whatever treatment they need quickly,” says Sarah.
“It’s important to remember that men can be diagnosed with breast cancer too. It’s less common than in women, but it can happen, and this is a clinic for everyone.”
Spire Fylde Coast Hospital
St. Walburgas Road
Blackpool FY3 8BP