This report provides a snapshot of the experience of stem cell transplant patients at this time, but it highlights clear areas where further engagement with patients is vital.  

During the initial response to COVID-19, change had to happen at such scale and pace that it is understandable that consultation, especially with patients, was limited. However, as we move forward, it is essential that patients are at the heart of the future health and care system.  

As the ‘new normal’ develops, it is important that the process of embedding changes in the NHS takes into account patient views, and the patient perspective, including the circumstances of a diverse range of patients. This is essential to avoid the implementation of changes which may work for the healthcare system or individual Trusts, but not for the patient. A prime example of this is remote appointments. Before these are embedded in standard practice, we need to understand when they are appropriate, who they are appropriate for and how to deliver the best possible patient experience. 

The innovation shown during the crisis, including the collaboration between charities and the healthcare sector, should be harnessed to keep patients safe and develop tailored solutions that work for those with specific needs like stem cell transplantation patients.

Our next steps

This report forms part of a broader programme of work that Anthony Nolan are carrying out in response to COVID-19, as we look to influence the development of the ‘new normal’ to ensure the impact of the pandemic on stem cell transplant patients’ outcomes and experience is minimised.  

  • To capture some of the nuances that sit behind these findings, we will be following up with a number of patients to conduct in-depth qualitative telephone interviews.  
  • Given the lack of data on quality of life for transplant patients, Anthony Nolan are taking forward a study of Stem Cell Transplant Patient Experience which explores the relationship between transplant and quality of life (QoL), pre and post-transplant. This will be an important evidence resource for the NHS and commissioners to understand patient experience.