20 April 2015
A lady filling in a benefits form with the help of Macmillan
More and more cancer patients in Northern Ireland are relying on Macmillan grants to help with the financial impact of cancer.
Last year, Macmillan paid out over £650,000 to around 2,000 cancer patients in Northern Ireland. Nearly two thirds of that money (£410,166)was used to meet the mounting cost of fuel bills. Other expenses included clothing, bedding and travel to and from hospital. Research by Macmillan has found that three out of four people in Northern Ireland find themselves, on average, nearly £300 a month worse off as a result of a cancer diagnosis, due to their reduced incomes and increased expenses. Northern Ireland currently has the highest level of fuel poverty in the UK and this has resulted in a disproportionate number of cancer patients needing financial help to cover heating bills.
Paula Kealey, Senior Development Manager with Macmillan Cancer Support in Northern Ireland, says: ‘These figures show that cancer patients are clearly in desperate need of financial support here in Northern Ireland. A cancer diagnosis can stop people working, which means that – all of a sudden - they can find themselves living on a vastly reduced income, whilst having to deal with an increase in outgoings. Cancer patients need to put their energy into getting better. Instead, many are living in cold homes, anxious about how they're going to cope financially.’
If you, or your family, are worried about paying fuel bills, or need other financial help as a result of cancer, please call 0808 808 0000 or visit macmillan.org.uk