The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Leeds Cancer Centre sister wins award for radiotherapy skincare project

18 December 2013

Ellen Trueman, a nursing sister in the Leeds Cancer Centre at St James’s University Hospital, has won a national award for a skincare project to help patients undergoing radiotherapy.

At the national Quality in Care - Excellence in Oncology awards, Ellen scooped the top prize in the Best Practice in Dissemination – Sharing Patient Excellence Across the Pathway category.

This award recognises Ellen’s work in producing an educational toolkit to help health professionals manage skin reactions - which cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy often develop as a side-effect of the treatment.

Ellen explained: “Skin reactions are a known side effect of radiotherapy treatment, with a large number of patients experiencing a moderate or severe reaction. Assessing the symptoms and managing them appropriately is essential to ensure the patient remains as comfortable as possible throughout treatment and is well supported at what is already a very worrying time for them.

“The toolkit offers a knowledge base and practical guidance for all healthcare professionals, with and without specialist knowledge, in a variety of healthcare settings. It can be used as a framework to inform local guidelines, and has also been implemented in national and international centres.

“I am delighted to have received this award - it reflects the hard work of all the team in striving to deliver the best care possible for patients with radiotherapy skin reactions, and helps spread the word that more can be done to help manage these symptoms in radiotherapy patients.”

Judges at the awards described Ellen’s submission as “a well-disseminated project that helped increase awareness and understanding of skin reaction to radiotherapy”.  BBC Breakfast News presenter, Bill Turnbull, handed over the award to Ellen during the ceremony.

There have already been over 1,100 electronic downloads from the Yorkshire Cancer Network website and requests for copies from around the world.