‘Roaming’ cancer service is boost for thousands

An innovative new service which will benefit thousands of cancer patients every year at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has just been launched.

The Macmillan CUH Cancer Support Service is aimed at providing a new layer of non-clinical support to Addenbrooke’s Hospital patients during diagnoses, their treatment, and beyond.

It is being led by a 12 strong team of experts who will be able to signpost and refer patients towards key support services in areas like finances and work, psychological wellbeing, physical exercise, side effects and impact on families.

Work will also focus on access to information, end of treatment summaries to assist GPs, discharge planning, patients’ concerns, perceived gaps in service, and statutory and charitable organisations in the community that could help.

A unique feature of the service is that it will be “roaming”, meaning staff are non-office based and instead will proactively liaise with different clinics and wards to determine which in or out-patients need help.

Critically the service, which will hold numerous health and wellbeing drop-in events, will provide practical support and a shoulder to lean on at times which may be emotionally challenging for patients, their family and friends.

Team members, who have different areas of expertise, compliment the Macmillan information “pod” in the oncology wing of the hospital, where patients and families can pick up further advice and information.

The initiative, a partnership initiative by the Trust and Macmillan, follows a detailed implementation project by Macmillan quality and experience lead, Lisa Putt, and Macmillan CUH Cancer Support service team manager, Laura Abbas.

Lisa said: “Cancer does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone, at any time, regardless of their age, gender, background, or circumstance. The team here recognises that everyone who gets cancer is different and the care and support they will need from diagnosis, during treatment and beyond will be personal to them.” 

Laura added: “This is a very exciting time for the hospital and our patients. The team’s vision is to be able to provide personalised non-clinical support to all cancer patients and is unique because we will do this anywhere in the hospital.

“Although the roaming nature of the team means they will be largely hidden from public view, they will be doing an extremely important job behind the scenes reassuring patients and giving them practical support.”

Anyone who thinks they could benefit from the MacMillan CUH Cancer Support Service can contact staff at The Macmillan Information Service in Oncology Outpatients. Telephone 01223 274801 or email add-tr.information-support@nhs.net

Image:  (left to right) - Macmillan CUH Cancer Support service team manager Laura Abbas, Macmillan quality and experience lead, Lisa Putt, and recovery package coordinator, Jenny Oakes.

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