25 May 2011
Staff at the service launch
A vital new benefits advice service for cancer patients in Medway has officially been launched.
Already in the first few months the service has helped 300 local people and managed to secure over £200,000 worth of benefits.
The Medway Council and Macmillan Welfare Benefits Service will help people living with cancer, their families and carers overcome the crippling financial hardship which often strikes people after a diagnosis of cancer.
The first centre of its kind in Medway, the innovative service is a partnership with NHS Medway, which will enable Medway cancer patients facing financial hardship to receive the financial support to which they are entitled.
Jo Brown, the Macmillan Welfare Benefits Manager for the new service says: 'People affected by cancer tell us that money worries are a close second to the anxiety caused by their cancer diagnosis. Cancer has a massive impact on your finances. Often people are left wondering how they are going to pay the mortgage, the rising heating bills or cover new expenses such as trips to hospital and car parking charges.'
The new service includes drop in sessions, a telephone service and home visits, allowing specialist advisors to act as advocates for their clients and offer practical advice and help.
Rose Collinson, Director of Children and Adults for Medway Council said: 'We have listened to the strong and serious concerns from cancer patients about finances, and this vital new benefits advice service is an important response in our support for people affected by cancer. The launch of this service represents a vital step forward in our support for cancer patients in Medway. We do not want them to be blighted by financial hardship.'
Mark benefitted from the service after being directed to it by the local hospital: 'I was first diagnosed with cancer four years ago. I was sent two thick envelopes full of paperwork that needed to be filled out. This time, Elaine from the new service came to see me and sorted everything out so I didn’t to worry about it. If there was anything I was entitled to she made sure I got it, like a blue badge which means I can get about a lot easier.'