Pharmacy support for Sheffield people undergoing cancer treatment

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A scheme which encourages people in Sheffield to visit their local pharmacist with minor ailments, rather than their GP, has been extended to people undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment.

There are approximately 5,000 patients in Sheffield at any one time undergoing such therapy, common side effects can include sore mouth, digestive problems, skin problems and dry eyes.

We know that more people are surviving cancer and living with these side effects for many years, this is set to rise by 50% by 2030[i].

Louise Metcalfe, Macmillan Primary Care Quality Lead Nurse, spearheaded the inclusion of people undergoing cancer treatment because of her own personal experience, she said:

“My mum was undergoing chemotherapy and started to experience very sore and itchy eyes one Friday evening. This is a common and nasty side effect of treatment; one that can be treated very simply.

“Nobody wants to start calling for a GP appointment on Friday evening. This got me thinking; a pharmacist would be able to help with this.

“The side effects of treatment don’t operate nine to five; pharmacists are our local experts with much more flexible hours.”

Steve Freedman, Community Pharmacy Lead Pharmacist, NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“Some of the side effects of cancer treatment have simple solutions but left untreated can have very serious consequences.

“If appropriate, our colleagues at Weston Park Hospital feel confident to refer patients straight to pharmacists who offer quick and local expertise”

Pharmacists are encouraged to attend the Living With And Beyond Cancer event at the Royal Victoria Holiday Inn on Thursday 21 April. Pharmacists will learn more about how they can support people undergoing radiotherapy or chemotherapy and hear from expert speakers such as Professor Diana Greenfield, Macmillan Consultant Nurse, Late Effects, Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

For more information or to register for the event please visit Eventbrite Click here

The event is funded by Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity and supported by Macmillan Cancer Support and NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group.

Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity is the only dedicated charity for Weston Park Hospital and exists to support the world-class cancer research and to improve the treatment and care for people living with cancer.