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New service helps cancer patients with welfare and benefits needs

13 September 2016
Helping patients to focus on their treatment and not worry about the impact on income that a cancer diagnosis can bring is the aim of a new service launched at Addenbrooke’s on Wednesday 07 September.

For the first time patients who attend the hospital for treatment will have access to a joint-agency service – based in the hospital, funded through Macmillan Cancer Support and delivered by Suffolk County Council – to help them with their welfare and benefits needs.

Patients treated at Addenbrooke’s – which is a specialist centre for cancer treatment – had already had support with their often complex benefits enquiries from a dedicated benefits advisor at Maggie’s Wallace, the cancer support centre based on the hospital site. The Macmillan Cancer Support Information Service, launched in outpatients in 2015 also provided support, but with 3,400 patient service users, there was clearly a need for an extended service.

Now Macmillan Cancer Support has teamed up with the benefits experts at Suffolk County Council to support this new service at Addenbrooke’s based in the Macmillan Cancer Support Information Service and D9. It will provide a co-ordinating role and complement the existing services: for the first time the route to accessing information will be in one place sign-posting the different routes to support depending on patients’ needs.

Launch of the Macmillan Benefits Service

Roland Sinker, CEO of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Having this joint-agency extended service provides patients with a greater choice so they can access information in the way that is most convenient for them. Needs vary; from patients using onsite services, being able to arrange home visits, or finding support closer to home through their local hospital’s Macmillan Information Centres. I hope the service will provide some vital support and reassurance to patients during an incredibly difficult time.”

Jenny Coates, Macmillan Partnership Quality Lead for Anglia:  “Macmillan is committed to ensuring that people affected by cancer receive the help they need, when and where they need it. We are really pleased to support the service at Addenbrooke’s so people affected by cancer can get advice and support to help cope with money worries, and navigate access benefits, at the right time.”

Mick Pilling, a patient who is benefiting from the new service said: “It is hugely important that patients are made aware of all the benefits on offer to them as soon as possible after diagnosis. Knowing that there’s additional support out there for yourself and your family can take a lot of pressure off, and it all helps.”