Cancer patients to get personalised support

Author: Adrian O'Dowd

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Scotland is to become the first country in the UK to offer cancer patients guaranteed emotional, practical and financial advice as part of a new £18m partnership.

The Scottish government and Macmillan Cancer Support are investing £9m each to ensure everyone diagnosed with cancer has a dedicated support worker through the Transforming Cancer Care programme.

The Scottish government said the investment meant cancer care teams in hospitals would be able to focus more on the provision of personalised medical care and support.

The ambition is to offer support to every cancer patient in the country by 2023. The Transforming Cancer Care programme follows the success of Macmillan funded projects over the past five years, in locations including Glasgow, Dundee and Fife.

The programme will offer every newly diagnosed cancer patient in Scotland a support worker who will carry out an assessment to understand their needs, before directing them to expert support from benefits advice to counselling.

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced details of the programme on a visit to the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow at the weekend.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Dealing with the physical and emotional impact of cancer is traumatic enough without having to cope with the stress it places on other aspects of daily life for individuals and their families.

“This £18 million partnership will make Scotland the first country in the UK where cancer patients will have access to dedicated practical, financial and emotional help.

“The programme will help fulfil the Scottish government’s ambitions to ensure everyone with cancer is offered a personal care plan and access to the support they need, making it easier for people to continue their personal and professional lives for as long as possible whilst under-going cancer treatment.”

Janice Preston, head of Macmillan Services in Scotland, said: “Cancer doesn’t just affect people physically, it can hit every aspect of life. Too often people don’t know where to turn for help.

“Medical professionals do all they can, but they just don’t have the time or knowledge to support people properly with problems like not being able to afford to pay their rent, or find the energy to make themselves meals.

“Macmillan has been testing the effect of offering one-to-one support from diagnosis onwards. The impact it has had in Glasgow and other areas in the country has been incredible.

“Our ambition is to have it available to every cancer patient in Scotland within four years, making Scotland the first place in the UK where everyone with cancer will be guaranteed assessment and tailored care from diagnosis onwards.”

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