Meet the new cancer support team at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals

The new cancer care navigator team which will work across Ipswich and Colchester hospitals. Picture:

The new cancer care navigator team which will work across Ipswich and Colchester hospitals. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK AND NORTH ESSEX NHS FOUNDATION TRUST (ESNEFT) - Credit: Archant

Cancer patients at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals are to be given extra support by a new navigator service.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs the hospitals, has joined forces with the East of England Cancer Alliance and Macmillan Cancer Support to pay for four new staff in Ipswich, along with four in Colchester.

Their job will be to guide anyone newly-diagnosed with the disease through the treatment process, pointing them towards groups and services that can offer practical, emotional and financial support.

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Navigators will then get in touch with patients every three months to give further guidance and answer any questions.

It will be a 12-month pilot project initially, with the results later being analysed to determine its success.

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Rachael Scott, strategic lead for Macmillan Cancer Services at ESNEFT – who is overseeing the new service – said: “This exciting pilot project will make sure cancer patients are given all of the help and support they need from diagnosis right through to discharge, in turn helping to reduce some of the anxiety and stress they may be feeling.

“The navigators will be able to help with everything from signposting people to financial or employment advice to informing them about courses, support groups and complementary therapies which they may find helpful.

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“They will meet all of the patient’s non-medical needs, in turn freeing up clinical staff to focus on care and treatment.”

Cancer care navigator Sarah Lawrance added: “Volunteering in the John Le Vay Cancer Support and Information Centre at Ipswich Hospital, as I’ve done for the last seven years, you come to appreciate that there really is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to providing cancer support.

“Whatever a person has going on in their life suddenly has to co-exist alongside the daily challenges that a cancer diagnosis can bring.

“And with the coronavirus pandemic ongoing, these challenges have only multiplied.

“It can be devastating at first, but with regular guidance to address their changing needs and links into local support services, that person can resume an element of control over their life that allows them to live as well as they can with their diagnosis.”

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