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Audit into breast cancer care

Physiotherapists are helping a specialist team of clinicians to assess the provision of care to women with breast cancer who undergo mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery in England and Wales.

Initial findings from the four-year national mastectomy and breast reconstruction audit show the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer has risen steadily in the last 10 years but there has been ‘little improvement’ in access to immediate reconstruction after mastectomy.

The ‘world-first’ audit, launched in January, has been commissioned and funded by the Healthcare Commission to improve the quality of care.

It was set up to examine current provision and access to services, evaluate clinical practice and measure outcomes following surgery.

Kate Jones and Helen Macleod ,clinical specialist physios at Royal Marsden hospital, are representing the CSP on the clinical reference group.

Ms Jones said: ‘It’s highly relevant to establish whether patients have access to physiotherapy from the first perioperative day.’

They have submitted proposals on how physiotherapy should be assessed as part of data on clinical and patient outcomes.

‘It is important that physiotherapy is seen as a factor that influences outcome,’ Ms Jones added. 

They have also commented on questionnaires aimed at patients, asking about satisfaction with reconstruction.

‘There wasn’t a lot of reference to physio so we queried that,’ Ms Macleod said, ‘and there wasn’t a question asking if patients experiencing pain had accessed any services.’

The audit is due for completion in December 2010.

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