Healthcare leaders in Southport are celebrating a decade of cancer support, as they mark the anniversary of the launch of the Southport Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre.
Over the past 10 years, the centre, which is a joint partnership between Macmillan and NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has helped over 7,000 local people affected by cancer. The team has also dealt with an incredible 131,000 queries from people who use their services via the centre itself and has also offered support at numerous health and wellbeing events, support groups and meetings in the community that the dedicated team organise and attend on a regular basis.
Sharon Cotterall from Southport came to the centre for support following her treatment for cancer and was so grateful for the ‘life-changing’ help they gave her that she now acts as a patient representative for the centre, assisting them in recruiting new staff.
“The person centred support I received from the Southport Macmillan Centre was fantastic and invaluable in my recovery.
“I was so grateful for their help that I wanted to make sure I do something to help their staff and service users in return.”
The centre is based on Wright Street in Southport town centre, and the team considers its central location to be crucial to delivering services and support to local people affected by cancer.
Tanya Mulvey, manager at Southport Macmillan Cancer Centre, said:
“Being based in the heart of the community means that people can visit us during their normal day-to-day activities, or reach out to us whenever they feel they need some support. Our team are always here to help, either through booked appointments or over the phone.
“Our centre provides a much more relaxed and approachable environment than in a clinical setting, as some people find it difficult to visit hospitals, which can trigger painful emotions.
“People can feel quite vulnerable after going through medical treatments for cancer so we provide ongoing emotional support in the local community, whenever they need it.”
Looking forward to the next 10 years
The centre was originally set up after local GP Dr Graeme Allan identified a need for support services for people affected by cancer and, in conjunction with Southport and Formby Primary Care Trust, submitted a bid to Macmillan Cancer Support to fund the centre. Today the centre is funded by NHS Southport and Formby CCG and maintains a close relationship with Macmillan and its standards and values.
In recent years the centre moved from Stanley Street to its new and improved premises on Wright Street and was awarded top scores for the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark (MQEM), which is Macmillan’s standard of excellence in the cancer care physical environment.
The team is also delighted to have started working with the Southport and Formby Primary Care Network (PCN), which is a group of GP practices in the area working together collaboratively. Together they have funded four new Social Prescribing Link Worker – Cancer Specialist roles in the area, who work closely with the Macmillan Centre team to provide practical and emotional support to anybody with a new cancer diagnosis.
Dr Graeme Allan, clinical lead for cancer at NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:
“By working together with the local PCN, every single patient facing a cancer diagnosis in our area will now be directed quickly and seamlessly to the support services they need which is a huge achievement.
“When helping patients tackle cancer, we need to treat the person as a whole, not just the disease. This kind of joined-up working in our community means that our residents will feel supported emotionally and practically, as they begin their cancer journey.”
How Macmillan can help
The centre offers a range of services and support for people affected by cancer, which can be those with a diagnosis of cancer themselves, their family, friends and carers, or even healthcare and social care professionals.
Anyone affected by cancer can visit the centre for emotional support services such as counselling and psychological support, or just to talk. They also offer a six week HOPE Course, which is a programme designed to help people gain back control of their life following a cancer diagnosis.
The centre also offers a variety of practical advice and services such as financial support, advice on benefits and help completing forms, as well as referrals to other relevant services such as dietitians, occupational therapy, social services and much more. To find out more visit their website: www.southportmacmillancentre.org.uk