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Royal Surrey diet and cancer videos shortlisted for national award

Lindsey Allan and Nicola Porter

Two Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust dietitians have been shortlisted for a national award for their video project answering common dietary questions during cancer treatment. The suite of short videos aims to enhance patient care by making important information easily accessible in an engaging format.

The 18 videos, developed by Macmillan Oncology Dietitians, Lindsey Allan, and Nicola Porter, have been shortlisted for the Nutrition Resource of the Year award in the upcoming Complete Nutrition Magazine awards. These awards recognise work that has made a significant difference within the nutrition industry. Voting is open now on the nutrition2me website until 20 July.

Each video is just two or three minutes long and provides help on questions patients often ask after a cancer diagnosis and during treatment, such as; ‘What should I eat if?/ I just don’t feel like eating / I have a sore mouth / I am losing weight / I have nausea’, and more. 

The topics, content, and design of the videos were developed with insight from patients, clinicians, representatives from Clinical Commissioning Groups, and the World Cancer Research Fund.

Lindsey said: “Our research showed that there are very few video resources available from major UK cancer centres for patients who have questions or are worried about problems with their diet. Cancer patients frequently turn to the internet for answers which can result in conflicting advice and lead to potentially harmful dietary changes.

“Many patients do not have access to a dietitian in the UK, and so to widen our reach and to help more people, we wanted to provide freely available evidence-based information in an accessible way.”

The videos can be accessed on YouTube and on the Trust’s Diet and Cancer Videos webpage. Since their launch in February, they have been viewed more than 3,000 times.

Cancer charities have welcomed the initiative, several of which have added links to their web pages. Positive feedback has also been received from healthcare professionals and patients. A recent patient survey showed that 84% found the videos very or extremely useful, and 100% would recommend them to others.

The project received Royal Surrey Charity funding as part of Bid for Better, a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style scheme where staff pitched their ideas to improve the patient experience.

Lindsey and Nicola are part of the Oncology Dietitians’ 16-strong team, which helps cancer patients suffering from nutritional problems during treatment including poor appetite, weight loss, gastrointestinal complications, and coping with symptoms and side effects.  

Royal Surrey is a leading specialist cancer centre with expertise in a range of cancers. Its cancer service is integrated with all the services of an acute general hospital, meaning that cancer patients receive the full range of care needed in one place, for example, surgery, emergency care, or ongoing cancer treatment.

It serves not only Royal Surrey’s local population, but it is also a regional referral centre for the South East and, in some cases, nationally.

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