STAFFORD'S healthcare leaders will join forces with colleagues across the county today to launch a revolutionary new approach to caring for cancer patients and those approaching the end of their life.
Five of Staffordshire's Clinical Commissioning Groups are teaming up with Macmillan Cancer Support to transform under one umbrella organisation responsible for the provision of cancer and end of life care locally.
Chief officer of Stafford and Surrounds CCG Andy Donald told the Newsletter the project aimed to provide 'world-class' care to people in the area starting in April 2015.
"Patients have told us that things are not as good as they should be," he said. "They have told us about not knowing who to turn to in a crisis leading to inappropriate and unnecessary admissions into hospital.
We have heard from patients and carers who have been lost in the system, or who have struggled to get support when and where they need it - this clearly is not acceptable."
Mr Donald said a further problem existed around accessing care with people unable to die at home when they wished because of a lack of available support.
"We want to develop the support needed to make sure that people have real choice," he said. "We want to make sure that they receive the best possible support wherever and whenever they need it, and that no-one feels as though they have been lost in the system.
Patients, carers, doctors and other health professionals were surveyed over how services could improve but Mr Donald said it was important as many people as possible had their say and helped shape future services when a series of road-shows started across the county.
Macmillan director of professional engagement Stephen Richards said being diagnosed with cancer was one of the toughest challenges anyone could face.
"More than one in three of us will be diagnosed with cancer," he said. "No-one should face these challenges alone.
"Macmillan is determined that through this programme no one in Staffordshire or Stoke-on-Trent will."
Mr Richard's said he was looking forward to working with the CCGs to make a real difference to patients' lives in the area.