Mesothelioma UK nurse specialist starts at Southmead Hospital Bristol

Friday, 25 July 2014

Patients with mesothelioma can now access more support at North Bristol NHS Trust.

Charity Mesothelioma UK has funded a nurse specialist post at the hospital to provide additional support to people with the form of cancer in Bristol, Bath, Taunton and Weston-super-Mare.

Specialist mesothelioma nurse Sarah Smith, who is based in the Brunel building at Southmead Hospital Bristol, will work with patients to ensure they have all the information and support they need and are aware of any clinical trials that may be available to them.

Nurses can also take the time to prepare patients for treatment options, help them work out what allowances and compensation schemes are available to them.

The new role also means that Sarah can help support patients outside of Bristol as the service will extend to Bath, Taunton and Weston-super-Mare.

About 2,500 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma a year and nine out of ten cases are linked to exposure to asbestos.

In Bristol and the South West there are large numbers of mesothelioma cases due to its history of shipbuilding and docks work as well as on the railways and in factories where workers may have been exposed to asbestos.  

Mesothelioma UK was set up to establish specialist nursing services in key locations across the UK.

Sarah Smith is the first Mesothelioma UK specialist nurse in Bristol and the fifth in the country. A further four are due to start later this year.

Sarah said: “Patients and their families with mesothelioma are facing big changes and challenges in the months ahead with treatment options, clinical trials they may be eligible for, getting the right allowances and coping with the legal system. Providing them with the specialist information, advice and support at this time is paramount.

“We have once chance to get it right for these patients and if we fail this is what their families will always remember.”

Liz Darlison, the Consultant Nurse who set up Mesothelioma UK,  said, “Subject to funding, Mesothelioma UK hopes to fund 2 more specialist nursing posts starting in 2015 – that will be 11 specialist nursing posts funded by Mesothelioma UK in the UK – a few years ago this seemed quite impossible. 

“Our ultimate aim is to fund a total of 18 specialist nurses in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to fulfil that original aspiration to provide access to specialist care and support for mesothelioma patients and their families.”