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Poster Numbers 185 – 241 – People & places: Poster No: 190
Mind the gap: do tertiary cancer centres need 24 hour access to specialist palliative care services?
  1. Owen Pooley1,
  2. Alison Coackley2,
  3. Agnes Noble2,
  4. Ann Griffiths2 and
  5. Donna Arundell2
  1. 1University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  2. 2Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, Bebington, Wirral, UK


Background The National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommended that Cancer Networks should provide 24 h access to specialist palliative care telephone advice. The Manual of Cancer Services 2004 suggested that a telephone advice service should be available to core members of cancer MDTs. Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology is a tertiary cancer centre with more than 7000 new patients every year. A specialist palliative care service is available 7 days per week 9–5 but the 24 h access is provided by an informal arrangement with a single clinician. Healthcare professionals working in tertiary cancer centres often have an increased knowledge of palliative care and it has been suggested that 24 h access to specialist advice may not be as important as for district general hospitals.

Aim To explore the views of healthcare professionals working in a tertiary cancer centre about the need for 24 h access to specialist palliative care advice.

Method A questionnaire was distributed to healthcare professionals in a tertiary cancer centre asking for their views on: areas of concern use of current informal advice provision impact of advice on patient care.

Results The questionnaire was distributed to 129 staff. The response rate was 47%. In the previous 4 weeks advice had been required on 46 occasions. 54% of staff had requested advice. 97% found the advice very helpful.100% felt that the advice had a positive impact on patient care.

Conclusion This survey demonstrated that staff in a tertiary cancer centre had palliative care educational needs and valued access to specialist palliative care advice believing that it had a positive impact on patient care.

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