Nottinghamshire Healthcare has received funding to deliver a pilot project offering psychological skills training and supervision to NHS cancer care staff across the East Midlands and offering psychological therapy to people living with cancer.
The Trust’s Clinical Psychology Cancer Service received £220,000 from the East Midlands Cancer Alliance, to deliver the Integrated Video Psychotherapy Project for People Living with a Cancer Diagnosis.
People diagnosed with cancer are up to three times more likely to experience common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Furthermore, they are less likely to seek or receive psychological support.
With the funding, the Clinical Psychology Cancer Service based at Kings Mill Hospital, aims to upskill the current workforce of cancer care services, enabling staff to better identify and support cancer care patients experiencing mental health issues. Improving the psychological skills of the cancer care workforce may also improve workplace wellbeing and reduce risk of burnout
For patients, the funding will help facilitate better access to psychological therapies whilst receiving cancer care, as well as improved self-management resources for patients who want to manage their own mental wellbeing both during and after cancer treatment.
Based upon a four-step model already used by the Clinical Psychology Cancer Service across mid-Nottinghamshire, the project will include:
- Training – a face-to-face training programme supporting cancer care staff to be able to assess and identify the psychological needs of their patients and provide brief psychological interventions where needed.
- Regular supervision – supporting those staff to ensure the training is embedded within their clinical practice.
- Psychological therapy for patients experiencing moderate-to-severe anxiety or depression one-to-one psychological therapy will be offered remotely via video to enable support to be available across the region.
- Integration with local Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services, to help patients with mild-to-moderate difficulties access treatment too.
- Self-management resources including personalised smart-messaging– to support patients experiencing common side effects of cancer treatment such as fatigue, nausea, and insomnia.
Sam Malins, Lead Clinical Psychologist for the project said:
“The need for more psychological health provision in cancer care is a key issue identified by the East Midlands Cancer Alliance, so we are delighted that the project has been funded to help evidence the impact that this kind of service can make for patients and staff.
“We are particularly pleased that the project includes “the full package” of training, supervision, self-management resources, psychological therapy, and integration with other services. This means that every patient can benefit from the project not just those seen for psychological therapy.”
Michael Ryan, Head of the NHS East Midlands Cancer Alliance, said:
“We are really pleased to be able to fund this pilot project, as one of the next steps in line with the NHS Long Term Plan, to ensure that every person diagnosed with cancer has access to the provision of suitable and accessible psychological support.
“We know that many adults with a cancer diagnosis will struggle with their mental health, so it is hoped that this innovative approach to providing therapy virtually for patients, will enable us to reach those who need support but might otherwise struggle to attend face-to-face appointments.”
The pilot began in September and is expected to run until August 2022. It will be rolled out across the East Midlands, encompassing Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Northamptonshire, and Lincolnshire.