Philippa takes up key Lead Cancer Nurse role

Cancer patient care at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) has been given a significant boost by a key appointment.

Philippa Aslet has taken up the role of lead cancer nurse for the trust – and she is on a mission to improve the cancer journey for patients, their families, and staff across the trust, which runs hospitals in Basingstoke, Winchester and Andover.

The announcement comes on World Cancer Day, and in the year that has been recognised as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife by the World Health Organisation.

Philippa said: “Lead cancer nurses take a leadership role, looking at quality, safety, nursing, supportive care as well as our national cancer targets.

“A key part of my job is to oversee the experience of our patients with cancer from diagnosis to recovery, or to end of life care, trying to make every point in their journey as good as we can.

“One of the ways we are looking to develop and improve cancer services, with the help and support of Ark Cancer Centre Charity, is to provide additional supportive care and services, counselling, and complementary therapies, in our fantastic radiotherapy unit.

“A key focus is to provide safe follow-up care and easy access back in to see a specialist, if and when required. This is a principle being promoted by NHS England and the Wessex Cancer Alliance. We want to provide more options of how we deliver safe and effective care.”

Philippa, who has worked for HHFT for 16 years, has had a long and distinguished career. She was the first urology specialist nurse at the renowned Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, her work has been widely published, and she is a former President of the British Association of Urology Nurses. 

Her career path has also seen her work as lead urology specialist nurse at HHFT, and for the past four years, as associate director of nursing. She remains involved in frontline patient care – something she clearly enjoys.

“I am a nurse who loves nursing,” she said. “To spend time with patients at any stage of their cancer journey, to be able to provide the care and support they need, is a privilege.”

Philippa is working closely with HHFT’s five cancer clinical matrons, and cancer specialist nurses, and she is keen to ensure everyone involved in the patient cancer journey is recognised for their valuable contribution.

“There is some great work being done in HHFT in terms of cancer care – we have some amazing people who deliver quality services,” said Philippa.

“There are innovative teams working across the multi-disciplinary team, and they are working together to improve patient care and outcomes.

“We have some very skilled specialist nurses working in our clinical teams. The contribution of cancer clinical nurse specialists to patient care is invaluable and should not be under-estimated – it is a key role in the patient’s journey.

“Patients tell us that they really value the continuity they bring, their advice and their support. They are the person at the end of the phone when a patient needs help, and they work closely with their medical colleagues.”

As well as working alongside clinical speciality teams, and the patients groups supporting and driving improvements in cancer care within HHFT, Philippa will also have a pivotal role to play in giving the trust a stronger voice in cancer care across the Wessex region, and further afield.

Julie Dawes, chief nurse at HHFT, said: “I am delighted to welcome Philippa into this critical nurse leadership role. The care of patients with cancer and their families is a key priority for us and Philippa’s leadership and nurse expertise will help us strive to meet our ambitions.

“It seems fitting to announce this crucial role not only on World Cancer Day, but in the year that we celebrate the invaluable contribution nursing and midwifery staff make every day to our patients. Philippa is a great example of the varied career a nurse in the NHS can look forward to, all whilst keeping patient care at the very heart of what we do.”

Picture caption: Philippa Aslet is HHFT's new Lead Cancer Nurse, and will be working closely with Ark Cancer Centre Charity