Publish date: 20 December 2021

The charity Myeloma UK has given the haematology team at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) a Clinical Service Excellence Programme (CSEP) award in recognition of their outstanding care and unflagging dedication to patients living myeloma, an incurable blood cancer.

The accolade recognises hospitals’ commitment to raising the bar for treatment and providing compassionate and individualised care to patients.

UCLH haematology team show win Myeloma UK award.png
Award winning team. Back left to right: Emma Rowles, Aviva Cerner, Charalampia Kyriakou, Kwee Yong, Rakesh Popat, Sarah Worthington. Front left-right: Lydia Lee, Jonathan Sive.

Dr Rakesh Popat, UCLH consultant haematologist, said: “We are very honoured and privileged to receive this recognition from Myeloma UK for the services that we provide for our patients. The myeloma team is a large and diverse group made up of healthcare professionals and scientists that are individually working hard to promote the best care. I hope that this award will encourage everyone to continue to strive for excellence for our patients.”

Aviva Cerner, UCLH myeloma clinical nurse specialist, added: “Having worked as a Myeloma clinical nurse specialist at UCLH for 10 years, I have seen how the myeloma service has grown and flourished over the years. At the heart of this expansion is a continued commitment to putting the needs of our patients at the centre of everything we do. We strive to ensure that our patients are well supported and provided with the best level of care in our power. Having this recognised by Myeloma UK and to be presented with an award as a Myeloma Centre of Excellence is acknowledgement of all this hard work and an honour. I feel very proud to have been a part of this process and to be part of a team that continues to focus on improving outcomes for our patients.”

Myeloma claims the lives of 3,000 people in the UK each year. It is especially hard to spot as its symptoms are often vague and dismissed as ageing or other minor conditions. By the time many patients are diagnosed their cancer has advanced and they require urgent treatment. This can significantly impact their chances of survival and quality of life.  

The Myeloma UK CSEP programme assesses a range of criteria including testing and diagnosis, research and clinical trials, end of life care, information and support, patient experience, treatment and supportive care, multidisciplinary team working and awareness, education and referral. 

UCLH’s haematology department was praised for its ground-breaking research and eagerness to adapt and improve care based on patient feedback.

Myeloma UK Head of Clinical Practice Services, Suzanne Renwick, said: “We were impressed by the haematology department’s willingness and ability to adapt and offer bespoke care. For example, the team recently piloted a telemedicine clinic offering anything from advice on diet and exercise to much-needed emotional support. UCLH is also at the forefront of research and leads on several national clinical trials. The team’s commitment to improving the lives of patients with myeloma is truly inspiring.”

Myeloma patient, Gilda Rabin, has been treated at UCLH since 2003. Speaking about clinical nurse specialist Aviva Cerner and consultant haematologist, Dr Rakesh Popat, she said: “They are superb, caring people. I have always had confidence and absolute faith in them. They are very good at putting myself and my husband Stephen in the picture. We celebrated our golden wedding anniversary last year. Without their professionalism and knowledge I may not have been around to mark the occasion. I really can’t praise them highly enough.”