CANCER patients at Dorset County Hospital are being put at the heart of services thanks to a new partnership.

Macmillan Cancer Support and Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have teamed up to improve cancer services and deliver a better experience for people affected by cancer.

Macmillan has invested more than £77,000 over 18 months to set up a team at the Dorchester hospital.

The team of three will look at a variety of information including national and local surveys and services data to understand the key issues for patients.

They will then help staff and people living with or recovering from cancer to work together on the redesign of services that meets needs.

Macmillan patient experience project leader Gill Faley said: “The method we’re using is called experience based design.

“It puts patients and staff at the heart of service redesign, whereas traditional surveys can be too focused on meeting targets and ticking boxes, missing out on how the patients actually feel.

“For us, our project is all about building great relationships with patients, doctors, nurses, service designers and all the other stakeholders involved in Dorset Cancer Services, who have invited us to work with them on building even better services.

“The project is underpinned by eight pledges that are made between staff and patients that focus on behaviours that support staff to give the best care and patients to be proactive in designing that care.

“These ensure that patients are respected, receive treatment that is personalised to their needs and reflects what is important to them and are active in feeding back to staff what works well or not so well about their care.”

Macmillan development manager Nici Bauckham helped form the partnership.

She said: “We’re very proud to be working with the trust on such a project.”