The first dedicated cancer specialist for adolescents and young adults with blood cancers has been appointed by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Respected Consultant Haematologist Dr Nicholas Heaney has taken on the unique role and he has been joined by Marjorie Gillies, Lead Nurse Age Appropriate Care.
Dr Heaney (36)will divide his time between the Teenager Cancer Trust (TCT) Units at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (RHSC) and the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, he said:
“I am delighted to be taking on this new position that will be both challenging and rewarding.
“Teenagers and young people have told us that they would like a service designed for them, that will give them equitable and age appropriate levels of care across both sites.
“I am pleased that we will be able to directly help and advise the young people during their difficult journey.”
The post will also allow him to lead research into teenage forms of cancer.
The main purpose of this exciting new role is to lead the care for teenagers and young adults with haematological cancer, including the development of transitional care and a late effects service.
In time it is anticipated that Dr Heaney will participate in a national role in service development for teenagers and young adults with haematological cancer in Scotland.
The creation of the post has been made possible thanks to funding under the Scottish Government’s National Delivery Plan to provide appropriate care for children and young people receiving cancer treatment.
Marjorie Gillies said: “I am pleased to have taken up the new role of Lead Nurse Age Appropriate Care within Children’s Services. This is about ensuring that hospital services, the approach of staff and the environment are all geared to meeting the developmental needs of young people (teenagers), which are different to those of children or adults.
“Patients in the Teenage Cancer Unit at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children will be the first to benefit although the role applies across all Children’s Services within Greater Glasgow and Clyde with the aim of developing a new model for the New Children’s Hospital.
“ It also means that we will ensure that children and young people are involved in making decisions about their care, in giving their views proactively eg about facilities and when designing new services. It will be fantastic to have young people involved increasingly in this way as we know they have a lot of helpful and practical ideas to make life in hospital a bit easier for them.”
Dr Brenda Gibson, Lead Clinician for Children’s Cancer Services at RHSC added: “This is the first post of Consultant Haematologist with a specific interest in Teenagers and Young Adults. We are exceptionally pleased to be able to provide a service that meets the needs of this patient group, and to deliver age appropriate support at a time when it is most needed”.
The TCT Unit at the RHSC opened on November 23 last year and its sister unit at the Beatson was unveiled on May 11, in 2007. Both are sponsored by the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Simon Davies, Chief Executive of Teenage Cancer Trust said, “Teenage Cancer Trust is proud to welcome Dr Heaney and Marjorie Gillies to the team in Scotland. We know that young people have a much better chance in their fight against cancer if they are treated by teenage cancer experts, in an environment tailored to their needs. We are dedicated to providing this care and look forward to seeing the positive impact these new roles will have on cancer care for young people in the region.”
For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.