Macmillan Cancer Care navigators offer phone and email support for West Suffolk cancer patients

 As west Suffolk follows the government’s advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives, a cancer support service is reaching out to cancer patients with the offer of telephone and email support during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Macmillan navigators, who are based at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) are keeping the service running and continue to support local people affected by cancer.

Madeline Friday, Macmillan navigator lead at WSFT, said: “Despite the incredibly difficult and uncertain situation every one of us has found ourselves in, we know how important it is to continue supporting the cancer patients and their families who depend on us. We can arrange a time to talk through people’s emotional and practical needs and help them get support that’s right for them. We’re still very much here on the end of the phone for people living with cancer in West Suffolk, even if they just want someone to talk to.”

The team are also stepping up to support services across the hospital, and are being trained to help with practical activities, like feeding patients on the wards and supporting people who have been discharged from the hospital.

The Macmillan Cancer Care navigator service works with the WSFT and local GP surgeries by supporting patients with regular phone calls and ongoing tailored information and support. They are able to help with all non-medical needs, such as figuring out people’s finances and explaining how patients can access financial support, or by providing emotional support.

The navigators can then also direct patients to the right information for them.

The service can support patients, their families and carers by:

Providing practical information and support about their cancer

  • Explaining the financial support available, and how patients can access it
  • Helping to explore physical and emotional wellbeing
  • Being someone to talk to in these difficult times.

Patients aged 18 and over can self-refer by calling or emailing the navigator team themselves, or alternatively, a health professional or GP can make a referral on a patient’s behalf. Support is available from the time someone is first diagnosed, while they are going through treatment and beyond.

Sally Legge, Macmillan Partnership Manager in Suffolk, said: “In this unprecedented situation the way the teams at our local Macmillan services have adapted to ensure they are still able to support people is simply fantastic. At Macmillan, we are doing everything we can to help address the immediate and unique challenges that having cancer during this pandemic brings – but as a charity funded almost entirely funded by public donations we’re facing a significant drop in income. We would be hugely grateful for any support people are able to give our emergency appeal so we can continue to provide vital support to people with cancer, now and in the future.”

To find out more or to ask for support, please call the WSFT Macmillan navigator cancer care service on 01284 713595 or email macmillan.navigators@wsh.nhs.uk.

Their opening hours are Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm, or out of hours leave them an answerphone message and they will get back to you as soon as possible.

The free Macmillan Support Line is open seven days a week between 9am to 5pm on 0808 808 00 00, with comprehensive information and support also available on www.macmillan.org.uk/coronavirus.

To donate to Macmillan Cancer Support, visit www.macmillan.org.uk/emergency or call 0300 1000 200.

Pictured above is the Macmillan cancer care navigator team who are still supporting cancer patients in Suffolk over the telephone during the coronavirus pandemic.

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