Cancer patients to get extra help thanks to new role

Cancer patients to get extra help thanks to new role

Patients with cancer who use Musgrove Park Hospital’s Beacon Centre are now getting additional support thanks to a new support worker role introduced by the Macmillan Cancer Support charity.

The support worker role will be trialled at Musgrove and will aim to give local cancer patients one-to-one emotional and practical support.

Macmillan Cancer Support has funded one of the five new post-holders, with the others funded by the NHS England cancer transformation programme. The support worker role was first introduced by Macmillan Cancer Support to work alongside registered practitioners in cancer care teams to improve care for people living with cancer.

They provide one-to-one co-ordination of care for patients, from diagnosis and throughout their treatment, by giving them emotional and practical support. This ranges from help with financial concerns and returning to work to side effects of treatment such as pain, fatigue and low mood.

They work to empower patients to take steps to help themselves and play an active role in their own recovery and signpost them to support available both within the hospital and the local community. It also means oncologists, nurses and consultants will be able to focus their expertise on managing patients complex care needs. Each of the new Macmillan support workers will specialise in helping people affected by the following types of cancer:

  • Urological, such as bladder, kidney, prostate and testicular.
  • Breast and gynaecological.
  • Upper and lower gastrointestinal.
  • Head and neck.
  • Haematological, such leukaemia and lymphoma.
  • Lung and skin cancers.

The five new staff members have been adopted by the cancer charity and will be known as Macmillan Support Workers. The cancer charity’s adoption of team means they meet the charity’s high standards of care and support, and will be supported with specialist training and access to grants to help increase their expertise and raise the bar of the care delivered to patients.

Cancer patients to get extra help thanks to new role
(Left to right): Joanna Wilson (Macmillan living with and beyond cancer lead), Julie Miles, Paula Jordan, Shawn Whelan, Farren McIntyre and Rachel Langbein (all Macmillan support workers), and David Craig, directorate manager for haematology, oncology, palliative and end of life care (HOPE) and clinical support.

New Macmillan support worker Shawn Whelan, whose role has been funded by Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “I am very excited about this new role, and feel extremely privileged to be part of the Macmillan family. Our induction and training package is well underway, and we have all been made to feel tremendously welcome. “Myself and the other support workers at Musgrove fit together extremely well as a group, and each bring our own strengths to the team. We are very much looking forward to the challenges ahead and feel both excited and privileged to be at the heart of the development of this new role, and we intend to make it an effective and efficient part of the service.”

Dr Petra Jankowska, oncology consultant at Musgrove Park Hospital, said: “The Macmillan Support Workers appointed will be yet another string to the bow of the multidisciplinary team of professionals caring for Somerset cancer patients, and assisting them through the various practical, financial and emotional aspects of dealing with a cancer diagnosis and the following treatment. “They will be a huge help to our cancer clinicians, and will give us even greater confidence that our patients are getting excellent care.”

Macmillan Cancer Support and Musgrove Park Hospital have a long-standing partnership having worked together for over 20 years and there are approximately 32 Macmillan professionals working within the Trust. Macmillan has invested £90,000 over three years to fund the new support worker post.

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