Spotlight Series – UCLH’s Oncology Team

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Ahead of World Cancer Day on Saturday, the global initiative to raise awareness for the disease, improve education and create action to treat and prevent cancer, we are taking a look at an incredible Oncology team at UCLH in central London.

UCLH provides a comprehensive set of services to diagnose, treat and support people with cancer. They are a specialist centre for many types of cancer and treat patients from both the local area as well as across the whole of the country. UCLH’s expert teams provide cancer treatment using world leading, state-of-the-art facilities, including the award-winning University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre and the newly built, Grafton Way Building.

The Trust are continually researching and exploring various innovative ways to provide cancer care. Most recently this has included the world’s most advanced form of radiotherapy, proton beam therapy (PBT). PBT is used to target certain cancers and uses high-energy beams of protons, rather than X-rays, to deliver a dose of radiotherapy. It is highly targeted and so reduces the risk of radiation damage to healthy tissues surrounding the tumour.

The trust’s close links with UCL also gives patients the opportunity to participate in numerous clinical research trials and provide access to new treatments as soon as they become available.

To better understand how hard the UCLH Oncology teams work, and the difference they make to people’s lives, Bank Partners have been lucky enough to speak to Simon Waller, Matron for Oncology at UCLH.

Describe a typical day working with the Oncology team?

No day is ever the same and we always must be ready to deal with unpredictable events. However, as a team, the needs of our patients is always at the very core of what we do, ensuring we have the right resources in the right place to deliver the best care we can.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I really enjoy the challenge of continual development to provide the best experience we possibly can for our patients and their loved ones.

What are you most proud of about the Oncology team?

Oncology is full of challenges and can be stressful at times, but I am always extremely proud when I see great teamwork and support for each other to overcome these challenges.

What achievements have the team been a part of recently?

Despite many operational challenges such as winter pressures and the effects of the pandemic, our team have continued to deliver safe, high quality, compassionate care to our patients.

How does working with the UCLH Oncology team compare to other places you have worked?

In the case of inpatients, I was struck by the great variation in the needs of our patients and their reasons for admissions and lengths of stay. Our team need to be skilled in providing care that meets these varied needs.

How do bank staff make a difference to the Oncology team?

Our bank staff are a hugely important element of our team whether as Registered Nurses or Health Care Assistants as they help support gaps that occur in our workforce. They all make such a valuable contribution to the care we provide, and we really appreciate the work they do. Having a full compliment of staff on a shift is so important in relation to the quality of care we can provide and bank staff are an essential part of this.

What message would you give to people considering working bank shifts with Oncology?

We are always pleased to welcome staff who wish to work bank shifts within Oncology. It can be challenging but a hugely rewarding environment in which to work, where you can make a real difference to our patient experience. For staff interested in working multiple shifts, we can provide training in elements of Oncology care to help with professional development.

It’s clear that Simon’s team consistently exhibit the key values of UCLH – Safety, Kindness, Teamwork and Improving. These values underpin all aspects of patient care and the working environment at UCLH, and shines through the Oncology team.

Working at UCLH itself offers fantastic accessibility, with the main hub University College Hospital located just minutes from Warren Street and Euston Square tube stations, as well as walking distance from Euston and King’s Cross railway stations.

If Oncology sounds like a place that you’d love to grow your skills and experience, then get in touch with our UCLH team today. If you are already registered with UCLH Staff Bank you can call the bookings team on 020 7959 3550 (option 1) or email to book the hours that suit you or find out more.

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