Being diagnosed and living with cancer can be hugely stressful for patients and their families.

However, the team philosophy at the Oxford Cancer and Haematology Centre is to ensure the experience is as positive as is possible – and this where Oxford Hospitals Charity is often able to make a difference.

As well as providing state of the art treatment and high quality, evidence-based care, staff aim to really listen to patients and act on their feedback – allowing us to significantly enhance the experience of cancer patients in Oxford.

We heard that the location of the Pharmacy, at the far reaches of the Churchill Hospital, was causing additional stress for patients and staff.


Dr Andy Peniket, Clinical Director of Haematology, explains:

"We became aware that patients attending as outpatients or for radiotherapy treatment often had long and multiple appointments on a single visit, and many felt unwell at the end of their stay, especially if they had received treatment.

"It could therefore be an extra burden for patients to walk from the Cancer and Haematology Centre across to the main Churchill Hospital Pharmacy to collect their prescriptions. Also, appointments sometimes ran late in the day, by which time the Churchill Pharmacy had closed, requiring patients to return on another day to collect prescriptions.


"This was not practical considering many patients travel long distances to attend the regional centre. Clinical staff often collected medication on patients' behalf, but this took staff out of busy clinical areas for up to 15 - 20 minutes each trip.


"Funding of £74,000 from Oxford Hospitals Charity allowed the creation of an Outreach Pharmacy, located in the heart of the Cancer Centre. This practical solution was warmly welcomed by patients and staff alike, and has had a positive impact for a huge number of people every day."


Chandra Henriquez, Senior Specialist Cancer Pharmacy Technician, adds:


"The Pharmacy Outreach opened in October 2015, and we see around 1,200 oncology and haematology outpatients a month. These are patients who used to have to trek across to the Churchill after they'd had their appointments, or even following several hours of treatment. It's great to be able to save them the stress of that extra journey, and every day patients tell us what a difference it's making to them.

"Also, because this is a specialist pharmacy service – with trained oncology pharmacists and technicians – we can give a more tailored and personal service and we are more able to anticipate our patients' needs, which cuts down on delays.

"We've all enjoyed having the chance to get to know our patients better and offer a more personalised service to them – so we are incredibly grateful to the charity for funding this special project."