One to One Support Continues for Local Cancer Patients

A pilot service which has given one-to-one support to almost 250 cancer patients and their families in Forth Valley is to be continued for another year, thanks to further funding from Macmillan Cancer Support. The charity, which donated £188,000 for the first two years of the programme has now agreed to provide another £91,000.

The service helps patients following treatment for cancer and NHS Forth Valley was the first NHS Board in Scotland to trial the scheme.

Key successes include the Holistic Needs Assessment which allows the Forth Valley Macmillan Community Care Nurses to focus on concerns and issues from the first home visit, and a coffee ‘drop in’ which encourages patients and their carers to come together for an informal chat and company. Other community events have included a Safe Sun event and the one-to-one support team recently joined forces with a local primary school for a very successful Macmillan coffee morning.

In addition, Macmillan Healthcare Support Workers answer calls each morning in the oncology department at Forth Valley Royal Hospital and are now handling 50 per cent of the telephone triaging. The one-to-one support team also deliver an education service, presenting nationally and locally and submit articles for the health press.

NHS Forth Valley Nurse Consultant for Cancer and Palliative Care, Sandra Campbell said: “’Macmillan One to One has been one of the most successful projects in Forth Valley.  We are still actively involved with more than 180 patients and I am delighted that this excellent service is continuing. These roles build on the cancer services already in place across Forth Valley and enhance the level of dedicated follow up support we are able to provide to patients in their own homes.  In many cases this may simply be answering questions, providing reassurance and making sure they know who to contact for advice. However, the service also helps us support patients to look after themselves properly and discuss any concerns they may have about their health, finances, career and family.”

Elspeth Atkinson Director of Macmillan Cancer Support said: “We know that cancer patients’ needs don’t stop at the end of treatment and with more and more people surviving cancer, and living with the disease as a long term condition, it’s vital that we begin building cancer care teams which reflect these needs. We are delighted this pilot is having such a positive impact on local cancer patients and look forward to continuing to work with NHS Forth Valley to provide this much needed support after treatment.”

There are currently two million people in UK living with and beyond cancer and this number is likely to grow by over 3% every year. Advances in treatments means that people are living longer with cancer and whilst this is good news, there is also evidence showing that at least a quarter of people have unmet needs following these treatments.

Macmillan believes that a cancer patient’s individual needs are best met through a mix of professionals making up the cancer workforce so people can see the right person, with the right skills and knowledge, at the right time. The pilot in Forth Valley means cancer patients not only have access to a team of cancer specialists but also a dedicated follow up team who can answer questions and provide information, advice and support

Issued by NHS Forth Valley’s Communication Department on 01786 457264.

For more information on Macmillan Cancer Support please contact Rebecca Demarco on 0131 260 3720 rdemarco@macmillan.org.uk