Our neck lump clinic team
A new one-stop clinic, set up at the James Paget to provide a faster route to diagnosis and treatment for patients with neck lumps, has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from those using the service.
The new clinic was set up in August 2020 to make sure those with neck lumps – which can be an early warning for thyroid, mouth or throat cancers – could be seen by specialists as soon as possible.
Patients who attended the clinic during the first six months, up to 7 February 2021, were asked if they would complete a survey about their experiences and, of more than 60 responses, 98% rated the service as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
The survey revealed that most patients - 93% - had been seen within two weeks of referral by their GP, with more than half attending the clinic even more quickly - 10 within a day or two of referral and 28 about a week after referral.
When asked for comments about their experience of the care received and their experience with our staff, several themes emerged with comments highlighting both the fact that everything was explained and that the team were friendly and reassuring.
Patients said; ‘Everyone was pleasant and kind and helpful’; ‘All staff very polite explained who they were and what was happening’; ‘Very friendly staff, put me at ease’; ‘lovely and kind, even holding my hand (during a test)’; ‘I felt comfortable and safe’.
Many also commented on how quick and efficient the service was; ‘No waiting about’; ‘I had all investigations in one appointment’ and on the approach of the team; ‘the whole experience from reception to seeing the consultant and nursing staff was extremely professional and reassuring’.
Patients were also asked what could be done better, with three things highlighted, including allowing patients to have someone with them during the checks, and enhancing communication when staff are wearing masks. Measures are being put in place to address these.
The clinic is the result of a successful collaboration between our Radiology and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) teams, which allows many of the diagnostic procedures to be carried out as part of the patient’s first clinic appointment.
Those attending the clinic are examined and, where an immediate cause can’t be identified, will then be sent for an ultrasound and further tests, usually on the same day, to start the diagnostic process. Those needing further treatment will then go to the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital for this.
Consultant Head and Neck Surgeon Mr Basil Al Omari said; “The feedback for the clinic is very positive and I have to thank everyone who made this happen from managers to clinicians, nurses, clerical staff, our great secretaries and not forgetting our colleagues in radiology and pathology.
“We will try to do our best to make this experience as easy as possible for patients and we are always happy to receive suggestions for how to improve our service.”
The team recognise it can be worrying to find a neck lump and are keen to encourage anyone who may find a lump to contact their GP as soon as they can, as this may put your mind at rest quickly or mean you are diagnosed at an earlier stage.