A SERVICE that has helped hundreds of cancer patients in Glasgow is now being rolled out to East Dunbartonshire.
The Glasgow Times first told of the Improving the Cancer Journey when it launched in 2014 with £3 million of funding from Macmillan Cancer Support.
Now it will offer emotional, practical and financial support to cancer patients in a second local authority area.
The scheme, launched today by Amy Callaghan MP, is a partnership between Macmillan and East Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP).
It allows cancer patients, at what can be a frightening and confusing time, to access all the help they might need with just one phone call.
Janice Preston, Macmillan's Head of Services in Scotland, said patients often tell the organisation they don't know where to turn for help.
She added: "This new service should make sure everyone in East Dunbartonshire with cancer gets the right help for them, every step of the way.
"We hope this service will transform cancer support in East Dunbartonshire.
"It’s thanks to the continued support from people locally, who fundraise for us and donate so generously, that we are able to fund this vital new service.
"With their help we are able to make a huge difference to the lives of people affected by cancer in East Dunbartonshire."
As has been the case in Glasgow for eight years now, every newly-diagnosed cancer patient in East Dunbartonshire will be sent a letter offering a meeting with a dedicated one-to-one Cancer Wellbeing Practitioner.
They will then help the patient access a wide range of support – from benefits advice and emotional support, to help at home or with other practical needs.
Macmillan Cancer Support has invested £320,000 in the programme, which will see Macmillan, East Dunbartonshire HSCP and other third sector organisations working together.
Caroline Sinclair, East Dunbartonshire HSCP's Chief Officer, said: "We're delighted to join with Macmillan to officially launch this valuable new service, which will have a hugely-beneficial impact on the lives of local people and families.
"We want to ensure everyone in East Dunbartonshire who has been diagnosed with cancer can easily access all the support they need – as soon as they need it – to help them to live as well and as independently as possible."
With advances in treatment, more people than ever are surviving cancer and living longer, often with the long-term effects of treatment or other conditions that have a huge impact on health, wellbeing and independence.
Many of them don't know where to go for help coping with the non-medical effects of the illness.
The new programme is part of an £18m partnership which is set to make Scotland the first country in the UK where cancer patients will be guaranteed wraparound support.
The Scottish Government and Macmillan Cancer Support are investing £9m each to ensure everyone with cancer is offered emotional, practical and financial help from a dedicated practitioner.
The service is open to everyone aged 16 and over living with cancer in East Dunbartonshire.
To find out more about the East Dunbartonshire Macmillan Improving the Cancer Journey service call 0141 232 8256 or email firstname.lastname@example.org