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Macmillan has developed a level 4 role called the cancer support worker. Their main purpose is to support people to self-manage their cancer by helping them navigate the health and social care system during and after cancer treatment.
The role is similar to some existing support roles, but the scope of the role will vary in each setting depending on local priorities.
The role has come out of Macmillan’s work with the Department of Health and NHS Improvement on the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative| (NCSI).
The NCSI’s emerging aftercare model shows that needs should be assessed at key transition points, and a care plan developed to reflect one of three levels of care - supported self-management, shared care or complex care. This will ensure that people are supported by the right type of professional, with the skills and knowledge to meet their needs.
We know that the two million people currently living with and beyond cancer will increase to four million by 2030, but doubling the workforce to match future need isn’t viable. The care pathway needs to be redesigned locally and the current workforce mapped against it. The existing workforce may need to do things differently to support this new pathway.
Finally, we need to identify the remaining workforce gaps along the pathway to determine which workforce roles best fill those gaps. Increasingly, skill mix will be taken into consideration and some posts will need to be level 4 roles on the NHS Career Framework (2009). The cancer support worker role should be seen in the context of this redesign, alongside other roles, rather than as an ‘add on’ to what already exists.
The role should free up specialists to provide their expertise to people affected by cancer and it shouldn’t be used to replace specialist posts or support cost-savings alone.
We will be piloting this role across the UK over the next two years and have developed an indicative role specification.
The core elements of the role, under the guidance and supervision of a registered practitioner, are to:
1. Coordinate care by providing a single point of access, including rapid re-entry into the system for those identified as having urgent or specialist needs.
2. Coordinate care for people with non-complex care needs (Level one – NCSI risk stratification model).
3. Coordinate education and support for people with non-complex care needs (Level one – NCSI risk stratification model).
For more information, please contact your local Macmillan Service Development Team|.
View the NCSI risk stratification model|.
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