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People dealing with cancer in North Lanarkshire could soon benefit from extra support if a bid to MacMillan Cancer Support is successful.


Health & Social Care North Lanarkshire (HSCNL) has approved an application to MacMillan to implement the Improving Cancer Journey (ICJ) model.


ICJ can develop support for people affected by, and recovering from, a cancer diagnosis. It has the potential to improve the cancer journey for individuals, carers, families and friends in North Lanarkshire.


A cancer diagnosis is distressing and further stress can be added when combined with coping with family, financial and work commitments. However, with the significant advances in treatment, many people – one in every two – are now surviving their cancer.


Approximately 2,500 people across North Lanarkshire receive a cancer diagnosis each year. By 2030, it is projected that across Scotland, 350,000 people will be living with a cancer diagnosis. This is compounded by the fact that 70% of people with cancer also experience at least one or more co-morbidity conditions.


The increasing incidence and prevalence of cancer is also having a wider impact on

informal carers, young carers, children with parents with cancer, education and employers.


HSCNL’s Strategic Commissioning Plan 2020-23 (SCP) focuses heavily on making sure that a whole system approach is taken and that links are strengthened between acute services, primary care and locality teams.


This is bolstered by the strong and effective third sector presence across North Lanarkshire which is supported and augmented by Community Solutions; North Lanarkshire’s community-led health and social care investment programme which focuses on creating communities where people can have full, independent lives.


This focus is a natural fit with ICJ as the SCP and Community Solutions have an emphasis on designing and delivering services and supports around outcomes, as well as what is important to individuals, families and communities.


This will be delivered with the aim of getting the response right first time, focusing on home, ensuring that people are not in hospital any longer than is needed as well as promoting prevention and early intervention including effective screening programmes.


Key outcomes include:


  • A contribution to the prevention of and early diagnosis of cancer
  • Increased support for carers/those in a caring role for people with a cancer diagnosis
  • Tackling cancer poverty through help accessing state benefits and grants
  • Support with council tax and housing, assistance with fuel poverty, carer support and debt management
  • Improved knowledge and understanding for partner groups and organisations about the cancer journey and the needs of individuals
  • Support data sharing agreements across partners


Dr Avril Osborne, North Lanarkshire Integration Joint Board chair, said: Cancer is now starting to be increasingly recognised as a long-term condition. A potential partnership with MacMillan Cancer Care could have a very positive impact for people in North Lanarkshire who are affected by a cancer diagnosis.


“A well-established support landscape already exists across North Lanarkshire which promotes self-management, early intervention and access to specialist care when needed. However, it can often be difficult for people, carers and families to navigate through the range of available services.


“It is our hope that MacMillan Cancer Support and HSCNL will work effectively in partnership with local health providers, local authorities, Community Solutions, communities and people affected by cancer and their carers.


“This has the potential to ensure everyone diagnosed with cancer can easily access the support they need, when they need it to enable them to live as well and as independently as possible.”


Councillor Paul Kelly, North Lanarkshire Integration Joint Board depute chair, said:


“Creating a new normal for those affected by cancer is fraught with difficulties, as the consequences of the disease and treatment pathways not only impact on their physical condition, but also on their psychological, financial and social wellbeing.


“The ICJ approach will mobilise the community voice around cancer, complement the national approach to inclusion, promote successful engagement with more deprived communities and facilitate volunteering models.


“If a partnership is created, all those with a cancer diagnosis in North Lanarkshire, and their carers, will receive information about community supports which they can access and an invitation to participate in or be kept up to date with the Cancer Support Forum which provides support 24 hours a day in a safe and understanding environment.”

Source: Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash 


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