An update from Dr Patricia Fisher

An update from Dr Patricia Fisher

An update from Dr Patricia Fisher


It’s been quite a year… a uniquely challenging one for us at Weston Park Cancer Charity, and at the hospital. I hope you’ve found ways to shine through, and I wanted to let you know how work and life at Weston Park has both transformed, and continued.


The arrival of the first wave of Covid-19 patients meant we had to quickly respond and change the way we delivered cancer care.


Our priority has been to continue to treat patients throughout the pandemic and more than anything that’s what we want people to know: we’re still here to help and we’re very much still providing care in a way that is as safe as possible.


One of the big changes has been seeing patients virtually, instead of face-to-face. We’ve worked hard to re-model hospital spaces so that they’re safe because telephone and video consultations are not always ideal for everyone. We do try to give people a choice if we’re expecting bad news or difficult conversations, but a lot of people ask us to call or consult online because they can have people around them, be comfortable, and it makes such a difference if there’s someone with them.


We’ve made some positive changes in the past few months that have helped us carry on treatments but with fewer visits to the hospital, helping to keep patients safer. For instance, we now know that for women with early breast cancer, five daily radiotherapy sessions would achieve the same results as 15. We have been able to quickly adopt the way we deliver care to respond to these findings and offer patients this option. We’ve also been able to switch some chemotherapy treatments to oral tablets that can be delivered to patients at home.


These changes mean treatment can continue without coming into the hospital and I’m hoping a lot of these developments will continue post the pandemic.


Weston Park Cancer Charity has been a great help to us at Weston Park Cancer Centre and to our patients.


Cancer is unsettling at the best of times – right now patients and their families really need a lot of support and the charity team has been great. They’ve bought tablets for video consultations or to help patients stay connected with loved ones, they’ve delivered medicines and food parcels to patients shielding, they’ve run relaxation sessions online, and the support line is still operating. It’s really helpful to know I can direct patients to call them if they need advice, information or support.


We can’t pretend nothing’s changed – the pandemic has challenged everything. But we have adapted and with the charity helping us to support people practically and emotionally, I really just want everyone to know that we’re still here for them and that if you or someone you care about have any symptoms or concerns that they may have cancer please get in touch with your GP immediately.


You’ll find out more about how we are working to be together at every step with our patients and families. Maybe you’ll decide to give, too – for us to shine through we need you to shine through!
If you’ve given this year, thank you for helping when we needed it most.


I wish you a safe, happy Christmas, and health and best wishes for the new year.


Dr Patricia Fisher,
Clinical Oncologist and Weston Park Cancer Charity trustee