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Specialist Village and Community Agents’ success supporting cancer patients and their families across Gloucestershire leads to further funding from Macmillan Cancer Support.
Macmillan Cancer Support has agreed to give further funding to the Specialist Village and Community Agents’ project which is helping inform and support cancer patients and their families across Gloucestershire.
The Village and Community Agents service started in 2006 in Gloucestershire to help people aged over 50 access the information and services they need. The service has gone on to receive national recognition and is funded by NHS Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire County Council and the agents are employed by the Gloucestershire Rural Community Council.
Now, working with the 3 Counties Cancer Network, the Village and Community Agents Service has trained a team of Specialist Agents to support cancer patients, aged 18 and over, and their families with information, support, and practical help from diagnosis onwards. There are also Specialist Agents who speak Chinese, Gujurati, and Polish. If cancer patients and their families have concerns about, for example, finance, employment, transport for NHS appointments, shopping, pet-care etc. then the Specialist Agents can help. The priority is to make the best use of existing services and expertise; the Specialist Agents can make sure these links are made. Patients and carers can self-refer or a referral can be made by their Clinical Nurse Specialist. Plans are underway for more health and social care professionals to make referrals into the service.
Fiona Bonas, Director of the 3 Counties cancer Network said: “I am delighted that Macmillan Cancer Support has agreed to fund this important project. We know that being diagnosed with cancer can impact on every area of a person’s life and it can be difficult to know where to find help. This is where the Specialist Agents are making a real difference by putting cancer patients and their families in contact with a wide range of information, support, practical and financial help. It’s a simple idea but also a great way of giving support in the community and making sure we can help join up services and make the best use of what we’ve already got”.
Feedback from cancer patients about the Specialist Agents has been very positive and cancer nurses are also seeing the benefits for their patients,
Lucinda Poulton, Macmillan Uro-Oncology Nurse Specialist said: “Many of our patients live a long way from the cancer centre so sorting out transport to get to the hospital can be difficult. It has been really useful to be able to refer these patients to the Specialist Agents and get their expertise and help”.
Elizabeth Wright, Macmillan Development Manager commented, “We have seen the success of this project to date and that is why Macmillan Cancer Support has agreed funding. The Specialist Agents are working locally and providing access to Macmillan’s wide range of services. It’s Macmillan’s priority to provide practical and financial support for anyone affected by cancer and that is exactly how this project is helping”.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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