Sharon Clarke, Macmillan Information Project Manager, Southern Health and Social Care(SHSCT) Trust
I am employed by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust (SHSCT) as a Macmillan Information Project Manager and have been in post since May 2012.
The aim of the project I work on is to increase access to quality assured information for people affected by cancer across a range of settings and improve the signposting of individuals to local services and support that can help address their needs.
This has included development of a range of approaches to improve access to cancer information and support in hospital, primary care and community settings. Skills and networks developed as a former Practice Manager and a chair of the Southern Trust Practice Managers Association for a number years has helped me to forge good links with the 77 practices across the Southern Trust area.
Macmillan Cancer support has funded this project for three years and achievements to date include:
- 79% of GP practices in the Southern HSCT area have access to Macmillan cancer information Hubs in waiting areas and have trained cancer information champions to maintain the hubs and re-order resources
- There are now 42 Cancer information points across the wards and outpatients departments in Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospitals
- 13 Cancer information points have been installed across our health and social care centres and community hospital sites.
- A Macmillan Information Centre has been opened in the Foyer of Craigavon Area Hospital, opened Monday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm. 13 volunteers have been trained in information provision to assist in this centre and support people affected by cancer.
For people affected by cancer, having access to the right kind of information, at the right time, is essential. It enables people to make informed choices throughout their cancer journey and access the support and help they need. Feedback from service users, GP and HSC staff about the project is extremely positive and they say their patients feel better supported knowing that information and support services are locally available.
Since the opening of the Macmillan Information Centre in September 2014 , 300 people have accessed the information service at Craigavon Area Hospital and one service user commented,
” Unfortunately this is the second time that I have had to access the Macmillan Information Service in a relatively short period of time. The information manager was so helpful and reassuring; she was able to refer me to a range of services that could help me and my family. It is reassuring to know that there are people there to help with the practical things”.
During the project I have seen time and time again the impact easily accessible, good quality information has on people affected by cancer and how information is such an essential part of the recovery package in assisting with self-management of cancer.
The Patient Information Forum( PIF) is a great organisation and as a Macmillan professional I am delighted that Macmillan Cancer Support has formed a partnership with PIF. The forum provides an excellent opportunity to network with a broad range of professionals across the UK involved with consumer health information. PIF Aware is always a welcomed email on a Friday with lots of information on policy updates, health information and new resources and member benefits.