Derriford Childrens Cancer Service (DCCS) is a Level 3 Paediatric Oncology Shared Care Unit providing services within the South West Children, Teenagers & Young People’s Cancer Services Network. The Principal Treatment Centre is the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. Children presenting with suspected malignant disease are assessed locally and then transferred to Bristol for definitive diagnosis, surgery if needed, recruitment to clinical trials, radical radiotherapy, and some chemotherapy regimens. Eligible children are recruited to multi-centre collaborative trials whenever possible.
DCCS provides inpatient and outpatient chemotherapy including the administration of intrathecal chemotherapy, supportive care, disease monitoring and imaging, psychosocial care, and long-term “late effects” follow up. When treatment is unsuccessful we also provide palliative care, including palliative radiotherapy, terminal care and bereavement care. We maintain close collaboration with the Principal Treatment Centre throughout the patient’s journey. A consultant paediatric oncologist and a consultant paediatric haematologist undertake regular visiting clinics in Plymouth with the local team.
All of our patients are allocated a key worker, who is usually one of the specialist nurses. Our social worker and clinical psychologist meet patients and their families soon after diagnosis and as necessary afterwards to identify and assist with social and psychological problems.
Outpatient care is provided in the Children & Young People’s Outpatient Department. Inpatient care is provided on Wildgoose Ward. Both are situated on Level 12. The paediatric oncology specialist nurses, clinical psychologist and social worker visit patients and their families in their homes and schools in order to reduce hospital attendances to the minimum. Our aim is to provide safe care as near to the child’s home as possible.
Our main outpatient clinic takes place on Wednesday mornings. A monthly “Late Effects” clinic is held on a Wednesday afternoon. Dr Wimalendra and Dr Turner also see patients at other times on an ad hoc basis by arrangement. Children on treatment have open access to Wildgoose Ward.
We have our own charitable trust fund whose object is “To support and improve the treatment of children and young people with cancer, leukaemia and related conditions who are under the care of Derriford Hospital and to relieve the burden of illness on patients and their families”. We are able to provide families with some financial support, e.g. reimbursement of the cost of travelling to Bristol, Birmingham or London for treatment. We organise social events and meetings for patients, families and siblings to encourage mutual peer support and obtain service user feedback