BREAST cancer patients can shape the future of services at Dorset County Hospital.

People who have been treated at the hospital can share their experiences and suggest improvements at a special event on Monday, July 14.

The event is the result of work carried out over the last nine months by the Macmillan Patient Experience Team– a project funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and delivered by Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Since September, the Macmillan Patient Experience Team has been working closely with cancer services at the hospital using the experience-based design approach. The focus is on talking to patients on a one-to-one basis or in group settings, as well as using written questionnaires, to find out how patients felt at particular points of their care.

Lorraine Sers, Anne Saunders and Katy Kennedy, breast nurse specialists at the Trust, said: “We wanted to understand why patients felt as they do and how that affects their experiences of our service.”

She said the team has identified several key areas of the patient journey which demonstrate ‘high quality and compassionate care’ but there are other areas where patients’ experiences do not meet the high standards set by the team. Tomasz Graja, consultant breast surgeon, said: “Our priority is always going to be the patient and ensuring that they get the best possible care. This project has given us the opportunity to share good practice but also to learn where our processes do not always support the patients”.

Monthly team meetings now begin with a review of patients’ experience. One clinician said: “I find the whole process so very helpful and stimulating. Both times I have been it has led to a change in my consulting practice.” The meeting will be from 10am to noon in the Children’s Centre, Dorset County Hospital on Monday, July 14.

Those wishing to attend should email or by call 01305 254521 by Monday July 7.