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In a UK first, patients of the Oxford Cancer Centre will receive fully integrated care for depression and other psychological problems based on novel research carried out by members of National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR CLAHRC) Oxford.

The Oxford Cancer Centre will hire a psychiatrist and three cancer nurses, who will be trained by Professor Michael Sharpe and Dr Jane Walker to deliver ‘Depression Care for People with Cancer’; a screening and treatment programme that has been carefully developed and evaluated in clinical trials. 

This means that patients will receive specialist psychiatric care alongside their anticancer treatment, rather than having to go to separate services.

This new programme is part of a wider development by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust to provide high quality, evidence-based integrated care for patients with mental and physical comorbidity, in collaboration with the Comorbidity Theme of the NIHR CLAHRC Oxford.

Project leader Michael Sharpe, Professor of Psychological Medicine at the University of Oxford and Oxford CLAHRC Theme Lead said:

“Depression can have a huge effect on quality of life and patients’ ability to take cancer treatment. This project is novel in the UK, to work in a completely integrated way is quite ground-breaking. 

"The NIHR CLAHRC provides us with a unique opportunity, not only to collaborate with local clinical services, but also to conduct further research that will inform the implementation of this programme nationally and internationally.”

Article adapted from the Oxford Times