A new £18 million partnership between the SNP Government and Macmillan Cancer Support will make Scotland the first country in the UK to offer cancer patients guaranteed emotional, practical and financial advice.
The SNP Government and Macmillan Cancer Support are investing £9 million each to ensure everyone diagnosed with cancer has a dedicated support worker through the Transforming Cancer Care programme.
This investment will mean cancer care teams in hospitals are able to focus solely on the provision of personalised medical care and support.
The programme will offer every newly diagnosed cancer patient in Scotland a support worker who will carry out an assessment to understand their needs, before directing them to expert support from benefits advice to counselling. By 2023, every cancer patient in Scotland will be offered this support.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP announced details of the programme on a visit to the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow and said:
“Dealing with the physical and emotional impact of cancer is traumatic enough without having to cope with the stress it places on other aspects of daily life for individuals and their families.
“This £18 million partnership will make Scotland the first country in the UK where cancer patients will have access to dedicated practical, financial and emotional help.
“The programme will help fulfil the SNP Government’s ambitions to ensure everyone with cancer is offered a personal care plan and access to the support they need, making it easier for people to continue their personal and professional lives for as long as possible whilst under-going cancer treatment.”
Janice Preston, Head of Macmillan Services in Scotland, added:
“Cancer doesn’t just affect people physically, it can hit every aspect of life. Too often people don’t know where to turn for help.
“Medical professionals do all they can, but they just don’t have the time or knowledge to support people properly with problems like not being able to afford to pay their rent, or find the energy to make themselves meals.
“Macmillan has been testing the effect of offering one-to-one support from diagnosis onwards.
“The impact it has had in Glasgow and other areas in the country has been incredible. We’re delighted to be partnering with the SNP Government to spread this support across Scotland as quickly as possible.
“Our ambition is to have it available to every cancer patient in Scotland within four years, making Scotland the first place in the UK where everyone with cancer will be guaranteed assessment and tailored care from diagnosis onwards.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“Being diagnosed with cancer can be very traumatic for individuals and their families and it is vital we provide the best possible care.
“Thousands of cancer patients and their loved ones across Scotland already know that the help of Macmillan’s cancer support workers can be life-changing throughout this difficult time.
“I am therefore delighted that with this £18 million joint investment from the SNP Government and Macmillan, every cancer patient in Scotland will have access to the high-quality support and advice which Macmillan are uniquely placed to deliver.”