New project to support asbestos-cancer patients in Wales

A new project has been launched to support asbestos-related cancer patients in Wales, funded by Mesothelioma UK with support from the Burdette Trust for Nursing. Mesothelioma UK Clinical Nurse Specialist for Wales, Sarah Morgan will lead on the project to review patient needs across Wales, working towards establishing a coordinated All-Wales Specialist Mesothelioma service. Sarah’s post is hosted by Hywel Dda University Health Board.

Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related cancer and the UK has the highest incidence of mesothelioma in the world with approximately 100 patients per year newly diagnosed in Wales.

The project will likely establish a system using a hub and spoke approach so that all patients in Wales, diagnosed with mesothelioma, are supported by a specialist mesothelioma nurse, are registered at a specialist mesothelioma multi-disciplinary team meeting and have access to the best treatment, care and clinical trials available. The charity will look to establish a welsh network of Mesothelioma UK specialist nurses to complement and support the work of existing the Clinical Nurse Specialist, to ensure support for more patients and increase knowledge of mesothelioma among healthcare professionals in Wales.

Patients in Wales often experience difficulties accessing specialist centres because of limited transport links and the rural nature of Wales. Access to clinical trials is also more difficult for patients in Wales so this enhancement of services is vital.

Sarah will lead the project and she has already secured the support from patients and the wider mesothelioma community in Wales including clinicians.

Commenting on the project, Sarah said: “I am delighted to be leading this project for Mesothelioma UK in Wales and I look forward to working closely with my colleagues throughout Wales to improve services for all those affected by mesothelioma. Many cancer patients and cancer services have been badly affected by the recent pandemic and none more so the mesothelioma patients and services. The need for an All Wales approach to specialist services for mesothelioma has never been more urgent.”

Lorraine Creech, Mesothelioma UK Head of Nursing, added: “Mesothelioma UK is delighted to have appointed Sarah as the Project Lead. The project will run for two years and as Sarah is currently the only Mesothelioma UK Clinical Nurse Specialist in Wales she has a wealth of experience about healthcare in Wales as a devolved administration, and also about the needs of people with mesothelioma. Sarah continually works with Mesothelioma UK to ensure we consider how our support and advice services address the specific needs of people with mesothelioma in Wales.

“We are grateful for the support of the Burdette Trust for Nursing to get this project up and running. The project is a big one and as Head of Nursing I will do my best to support Sarah. We hope the project will serve to streamline services for people with mesothelioma in Wales and make mesothelioma matter.”