There are an estimated 2.5 million people living with a cancer diagnosis in the UK. Cancer survival in the UK has doubled in the last 40 years. Half (50%) of people diagnosed with cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for ten years or more and the number of cancer survivors in the UK is projected to increase by approximately one million per decade from 2010 to 2040; resulting in a predicted 3.4 million people in the UK to be living with or beyond cancer by 2030. An inevitable consequence will be an increase in the number of ambulance attendances to people living with cancer (Macmillan 2019).
Paramedics frequently encounter people living with cancer, in the ambulance service they may be called to transport a patient following a referral from a specialist or have unplanned involvement following a 999-call due to worsening symptoms or sudden crisis. As with other long-term conditions there are situations which should be considered medical emergencies. Paramedics also play a fundamental role in the provision of preventative, active and enabling care in hospital, primary care, community, hospice or in people’s homes, and more recently in specialist roles.
The Macmillan AHP competency framework which has been endorsed by the College of Paramedics is aligned to UKONS Acute Oncology Competence Framework and has been designed to support the development of practice and quality patient care in this important area. By utilising these shared values and competencies, alongside the colleges own existing professional standards and competencies, the framework will support paramedics working across all healthcare settings to develop their skills and knowledge to support the delivery of quality patient care to people living with cancer as well as their families.