Emma Hallam, Macmillan Consultant Radiographer in Post Treatment & Late Effects at Nottingham Radiotherapy Centre, part of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, has made the finals of this years prestigious Macmillan Professionals Excellence Awards in their Whatever It Takes category.
The Awards recognise and celebrate the work of truly exceptional Macmillan professionals and teams who do whatever it takes to support people living with cancer, showcasing not just what they do, but how they do it – with heart, strength and ambition.
After winning a Macmillan Excellence Award in 2016 and continuing with her fantastic work, to be one of ten nominees from accross the UK shortlisted for an Excellence Award in this category, and one of only six individual finalists overall this year, is a significant achievement for Emma and the amazing work herself and her team do on a daily basis at Nottingham Radiotherapy Centre (see picture).
We congratulate Emma on this amazing achievement and wish her the best of luck at the Awards ceremony being held in London on Tuesday 8 November. You can read more about Emma's work below.
Emma's journey with Macmillan began in 2013, where she developed the multi award winning Nottingham Macmillan LE (Late Effects) Service, a bespoke clinic that helps patients with both the physical and psychological consequences from their radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment. The first of its kind, the service is now recognised nationally as a foundation on which other late effects services are developed.
Every patient has a different story, but a common theme is that life is different after treatment. Many patients, whilst feeling grateful for being cured of their cancer, are left with side effects that will affect them daily for the rest of their lives. For some, it has a debilitating effect and they are unable to return to work or their relationships break down, others continue with a much lower quality of life, often hiding how they are truly feeling from the professionals and their loved ones.
From 2016 to 2018, she became acutely aware that they were only seeing the tip of the iceberg and that there were so many patients out there living with unmet needs. In 2019 she secured further funding to expand the team and develop Patient Reported Outcome Measures, a questionnaire to help identify needs and ensure clinics were really addressing all possible late effects. Often patients didn’t realise that the symptoms they were experiencing were a result of their treatment or that help was available.
Head and neck cancer patients that she was seeing in clinic had the most significant needs and lowest quality of life, often not being addressed. She knew that there must be something she could do to help provide supported self management and enhance their life after treatment. With the support of other heath professionals, who Emma stronger believes should work together for the benefit of the patient, she has developed a combined post head and neck treatment clinic to screen for late effects and a collaborative rehabilitation programme, that again identifies needs earlier and provides support.
She has become an international speaker and has been pivotal in - the development and eduction of LE services nationally, the development of cancer survivorship masters modules, education in collaborative working in personalised care and supportive self management and in the rehabilitation and rehab models for Macmillan known as PROSPER. By engaging with other interested professionals she has also developed a national community of practice and is helping to write LE guidelines.
To date, there are now over 30 LE clinics in development of varying formats. Many of the therapeutic radiographers say that it was listening to and being guided by Emma that gave them the drive to develop their clinic.
Emma's dream is for every patient who has had cancer treatment to have access to a Late Effects service, regardless of their postcode. She will continue to champion and push to make this happen until living with and beyond cancer is recognised as a long term condition.