Breast care team win national award

Breast Cancer Care has announced the winners of the support charity’s first ever Nursing Network Awards supported by Amgen Ltd, recognising best practice in specialist breast care nursing across the UK.  Nurses from Dorset County Hospital were recognised in the Best Multidisciplinary Project category for their project: One Stop Anaesthetic Pre-assessment.


At a time of great change in the National Health Service, the national awards recognise those nurses who have demonstrated innovative and pioneering ideas that make a positive difference to patient care. Nurses at the Dorse tCounty Hospital moved from a system where patients had several appointments over a 1-3 week period to a one-stop clinic where all appointments are held on the same day. By streamlining the process, the process is more convenient for patients, improving their overall experience. The scheme also goes some way to supporting the government’s initiatives to tackle waiting times and reduce costs. The project has received universally positive feedback and there are plans to expand the service in the future.


The winners, who are awarded a cash prize to support their work, were chosen by an esteemed panel of five judges from across the field of breast care, including Dr Emma Pennery, Clinical Director at Breast Cancer Care, Maria Noblet, Chair of the RCN Cancer and Breast Care Forum, Dr Gill Hubbard, Co-Director of the Cancer Care Research Centre, Amanda Shrewbridge, Nurse Consultant in Breast Care and Gill Donovan, Breast Oncology Nurse Specialist.* The panel were looking for projects that exemplified excellent patient care and which could benefit other professionals through sharing best practice. 


Gill Donovan, Nursing Network Awards judge said:

“This project is a great example of innovation and is clearly driven by a very motivated team of nurses. The impact on patient care is, so far, extremely positive, with reduced hospital visits saving patients both time and money. The success of the project to date is testament to the benefits of teams working together with a common goal of improving patient care.”


Breast Cancer Care‘s Clinical Director, Head of the Nursing Network and judge of the Nursing Network Awards, Dr Emma Pennery said:


“In uncertain and pressured times like these, when budgets are tight and specialist nursing posts are under threat, these awards are so important in recognising the exceptional work breast care nursing teams do. All the entries showed a real drive to put the patient at the heart of their work, but we were especially impressed by the innovation demonstrated by the winners. The Dorset County Hospita lbreast care team showed how they went the extra mile to find out what would contribute to an excellent patient experience- something which we at Breast Cancer Care know makes a huge difference.”


Anne Saunders, Breast Care Nurse at Dorset County Hospital said she and her colleague Breast Nurse Specialist Lorraine Sers would both like to thank Breast Cancer Care for this award and for recognising the hard work that went into making the same day pre-assessment work for patients.


She added: “The most important point to make is that this was a team effort.  The initial idea came from Specialist Nurse Kirsty Norvill. Whilst undertaking her nurse practitioner degree and working on the Pre-Assessment Unit, she saw first hand the frustrations that our patients went through having to attend the hospital two or three times before their surgery and approached us for our help to get nurse-led same-day pre-assessment under way.  The whole breast and pre-assessment team have been involved, and Alex Sissons in admissions has been our co-ordinator. All we did was recognise its benefit to the patients and the Trust and help to make the idea a reality. It just goes to show what team work can achieve.


“We are in the process of auditing the patients’ experience of pre-assessment to show how much it helped the patient’s journey and hope that, given time, the same-day pre-assessment will also be adapted for other specialities.


“We intend to use the prize money towards establishing a ‘Moving Forward’ day for our patients after their treatment has finished, which we hope to get up and running within the next year.”


Breast Cancer Care’s Nursing Network brings together more than 700 professionals working in the field of breast cancer to share best practice, keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the field and ensure Breast Cancer Care’s services continue to be responsive to patient need.


For more information about any of the winners or to learn more about the Nursing Network, visit