Service models, for the provision of specialised nursing care for people with secondary breast cancer, are a matter for local trusts. East Sussex and Brighton and Hove both offer excellent care for those living with a secondary breast cancer diagnosis. East Sussex offers a well-established, integrated specialist nursing service for all people with breast cancer. The service consists of four Macmillan Breast Care Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) clinically led by a Macmillan Nurse Consultant. They employ an integrated service model where each CNS is equally skilled in caring for patients with breast cancer at all stages of their care, and patients are signposted to other group and individual support services such as their Cancer Counselling Service. The Brighton and Sussex Cancer Centre is one of the few in the United Kingdom which has a specifically designated metastatic breast care nurse and the Cancer Alliance is seeking to share their experience with the rest of the region.
In the Cancer Workforce Plan for England, published in December 2017, Health Education England (HEE) set out the case for the need to target additional training support for several priority professions, including clinical radiology, histopathology, oncology and diagnostic and therapeutic radiography. During HEE’s follow-up work to phase 1 of the Cancer Workforce Plan, the cancer nurse workforce will also be reviewed. Health Education England will support the expansion of Cancer Nurse Specialists so that every patient has access to a CNS or other support worker by 2021. We plan to work with partners like East Sussex, Brighton and Hove, Cancer Alliances and Macmillan to identify and develop clear career pathways into the CNS role as part of a wider review of the contribution nurses can make to cancer.