Café catch-up's

Now that Covid restrictions have more or less completely relaxed, outside of hospitals at least, we feel more comfortable meeting in open and 'airy' settings, especially over a nice cup of coffee or tea! Having an informal café catch-up will be a nice way to meet, share our experience and make new friends.

To get things going, I have booked an outside table for 4 people, at Jacobs & Field cafe in Headington at 3pm this coming Tuesday 30th August. If it's convenient for you and you'd like to join me then drop me a line
here - ideally today. If we have more than 4 coming I'll book a second table. Jacob's & Field is located immediately next to Waitrose, with car parking right there. 

Looking ahead, we'll schedule a series of monthly café catch-up's at locations convenient for you - just
drop me a line with suggestions, and we'll see how it goes. 

Zoom Review

Following our recent Zoom session last Tuesday evening, here's a brief summary of what was discussed.

We asked the questions "what went well?" and "what could have been better?", so far receiving 60 comments from 15 respondents. Our survey remains open until the end of September, so if you'd like us to include your feedback simply drop me an email

Not surprisingly we received lots of very positive comments, praising all the staff at the Churchill hospital across the many departments, including the Chemo Suite, Radiology, Intensive care and of course the Upper GI ward. In particular, Nick and his team of consultant surgeons and specialist nurses are at the forefront of our collective praise and admiration.

Alongside praise, of course there are always things that can be improved. Nick kindly joined us on the zoom to review and comment on some of the feedback.  Whilst not verbatim, this is a small sample of what Nick had to say:


  1. Earlier diagnosis by GPs
    "On the whole this has been improving over the last few years; GPs are increasingly more aware of the symptoms of oesophageal and stomach cancer, but yes it is absolutely vital to have an early diagnosis and the quicker a GP refers a patient the better the likely outcome."  
  2. Better communication between hospitals
    "Within the OUHT there is an effective and secure electronic system sharing patient records, however only paper records are shared between hospitals, which can cause delays and handovers not as smooth as they could be. We acknowledge this has been a problem in a small number of cases, but we try to do our best to ensure continuity of care. This is helpful feedback for all those involved in communicating between hospitals."
  3. Better communication with GPs
    "We do our best to get letters to a patient's own GP, but sometimes a letter may be delayed or sent to the Practice and not the individual GP.  I'll take this back to the team for a closer look at what we do." 
  4. Better administration with appointments and letters
    "This is a continual frustration to us as well as patients. We have an automated appointment booking system that generates letters whenever a change is made. Our administrators are well aware of the problems and duplications that arise, but given we make 1000s of appointments each week we depend on an automated system to cope with booking valuable time slots and generating letters and texts. Our computer experts are on the case, but I don't know when or if it can be resolved."   
  5. Keep information leaflets up to date
    "This is always useful feedback, I will share this with the staff involved to look at your comments."
  6. Single message from Consultant Oncologist and Surgeon
    "We always discuss each patient's case individually at the weekly Multi Disciplinary Team (MDT) meeting before speaking with a patient. So our messages should always be joined up. How the message is given can be just as important and we should be doing it with sensitivity,"
  7. Consider an aftercare package
    "We are looking at how we follow up with patients when they are sent home and we have a current study looking at the usefulness of post operative CT scans. We're very focussed on patient care and welcome any feedback given to us."

I'm confident that our feedback will be listened to and improvements made where they can be.  And whilst nothing's perfect - make no mistake, we hugely appreciate all the care and treatment afforded to us by the incredible team at the Churchill Hospital. 

Come along

Please come along and enjoy our BBQ buffet at Wytham Woods on Saturday 10th August from 3pm - 6pm. There's no need to book and free parking next to the barn. For more details take a look at our poster.

And finally

We're conscious not to send you too many newsletters, our mailboxes are full enough already! so it's likely the next one will at least be in a fortnight's time.  

Kind regards
Matt Carter
Chair of the Trustees
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