Professional profiles

Clare Lait - Macmillan specialist community physiotherapist

I became a Macmillan professional in this role because I am passionate about changing the care for people living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis, especially within the community where resources are poor. As a physiotherapist, being able to facilitate recovery, improve someones quality of life and allow them to thrive, is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. Using my specialist knowledge and skills and being able to reassure individuals or signpost back into acute care when required, reduces anxiety and fears and facilitates quick access for those who need medical care again.

I love every part of my job as a Macmillan specialist physiotherapist and seeing a smile on someone's face when they realise that beyond the diagnosis and treatments, there is hope. Hope that they can regain their energy and return to things they love doing, hope that they change the way they think, act or do to make their lives better. Even when prognosis is poor, physiotherapy can help to make life easier, alleviate pain and suffering and maintain independence. Every part of my job teaches me about life both before and after a cancer diagnosis and how precious it is. I love seeing people achieve things they did not think were possible and I love watching people grow when they have been really low both physically and emotionally during and after treatments. Knowing that I have been a part of this makes me proud to call myself a physiotherapist.

My role involves setting up and delivering the Active Everyday programme. This aims to ensure that everyone has access to support, to enable them to be more physically active in accordance with the recommended guidelines.

My role is also to deliver specialist physiotherapy face-to-face clinics to these individuals as part of the recovery package out in the community setting.

I am also responsible for delivering the HOPE course and involved in the education of colleagues in particular around the physical activity element of our service.

David Pearson - Financial guide

The Financial Guidance Service provides impartial guidance on a range of personal finance issues. People can call us with questions about mortgages, pensions, insurance, taxes or banking, among other areas. We can help guide them through their options so they can make decisions and take action. In some cases we can also step in and act on someone’s behalf – for example if they have a dispute with a pension provider, or if we feel there is something unfair in the way they have been treated by a company. I would say to health and social care professionals, please don’t hesitate to send people affected by cancer our way. If a person mentions anything to do with their finances, that’s something we could help them explore more deeply and it may have a huge impact on their life.

Dr Tarek Bakht - Macmillan GP and clinical lead for cancer and end of life care

As a Macmillan GP, I value my role as someone who is enthusiastic in making positive changes to cancer care services within our local area. My role involves engaging with health and social care professionals and members of the public to lead strategic discussions to help improve cancer services in our local area. In Bolton we have developed minimum cancer standards for General Practice. These are five key items around improving cancer care that all GP practices in Bolton are committed to. We also deliver yearly cancer awareness education sessions for clinicians.

I have also been chairing the steering group to set up our newly commissioned Macmillan Cancer Information Support Service, which has been a great success for our patients. We have recently developed a new initiative with our hospital to improve the cancer pathway by enabling more rapid diagnostics and treatment for cancer patients. Overall I am honoured to be a Macmillan GP, who can really influence key strategic partners and make a difference to delivering high quality, efficient and safe care for people with or affected by cancer.

Shez Holmes - Macmillan neuro-oncology clinical nurse specialist

My role as a Macmillan neuro-oncology CNS is all about supporting patients with primary brain cancers. 

Although it's a rare cancer it affects all areas of patients' and their families' lives.

Patients at our hospital have surgery in Oxford which further complicates their care. 

I have established excellent links with the Oxford team so that patients have someone to contact pre- and post-surgery before they come back to Northampton for further treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. 

I have also worked with the stroke physicians to see patients who present with stroke-like symptoms that on scans show to be a brain malignancy. 

I act as the key worker for my patients and offer information and sign posting to other services such as benefits. I also take daily phone calls from patients which may involve talking to GPs or district nurses, or the community palliative care teams. I regularly support patients with letters when they have concerns with returning to work. 

I have my own nurse-led clinic and weekly review all patients on treatment which helps to reduce waiting times in the clinic. 

Over the last year I have led on a project funded by Macmillan to introduce electronic holistic needs assessments and this has helped in planning patient-centred care. 

Patients and families are affected in so many ways, from not being able to drive to issues with work, and side effects such as problems with memory or speech. I find it so rewarding to be alongside patients and families to help ensure their care is coordinated and I think patients just need some supported management and to know there's someone they can contact for any concerns.