Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) cancer performance has continued to go from strength to strength, after recently hitting all eight NHS cancer targets simultaneously for the second month in a row, placing the Trust within the top 20% of trusts nationally.

The radical improvement has certainly not happened overnight, with the Trust introducing a raft of changes to improve cancer waiting times and respond to the rise in demand.

Some of the changes have included investing and ‘upskilling’ staff to qualify to administer chemotherapy by completing an intense course at Canterbury Christchurch University.

The nine staff nurses all undertook the Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy (SACT) last year which included submitting assignments and attending University at weekends as well as receiving training in-house alongside experienced chemotherapy staff in oncology units.

The newly trained SACT nurses, including Debbie, Claire, Michelle and Rudo (pictured), which MTW has funded the cost of, have now joined the Trust’s current team of around 30 qualified staff and are based mainly at Maidstone Hospital’s Lord North Ward and Tunbridge Wells Hospital’s Haematology-Oncology day Unit.

The new nurses will not only help deliver chemotherapy for patients with all types of cancer, but the new qualification means they are also certified to deliver consultations to patients between cycles of chemotherapy, enabling doctors to focus on other areas of care.

Chemotherapy Development Nurse Practitioner, Jan Christie, who has overseen the nurses during their training, said: “I’ve really enjoyed watching and supporting them all develop their skills and knowledge to become our new Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy trained staff nurses and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them all on their hard work and achievements.

“This is an extremely specialised area in treatment as it requires such an intense course of extra learning which few nurses have undertaken, so to be able to welcome on-board nine new expertly trained staff is fantastic news for the Trust and our patients.”

Read more about MTW’s cancer performance turnaround here.