543,000 funding boost to transform support for people living with and beyond cancer in Sandwell and West Birmingham

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Macmillan Cancer Support has announced it will invest £543,000 into transforming cancer services in Sandwell and West Birmingham over the next three years.

NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust have jointly secured the funding from Macmillan to develop a Living with and Beyond Cancer programme.

Sandwell and West Birmingham is just one of only a few areas in the country to secure the funding. Lifestyle factors associated with increasing the risk of cancer are all worse than the national average, including smoking, alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity and the numbers of people overweight or obese. Mortality rates for cancer in Sandwell and West Birmingham are also higher than many areas of the UK.

Lorien Barber, Partnership Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide the funds needed to develop and implement the Living with and Beyond Cancer Programme in Sandwell and West Birmingham.

“The number of people being diagnosed with cancer each year is increasing and the needs of those living longer with cancer are becoming more complex. There is, therefore, a growing need for more sustainable and effective services and support from the moment of diagnosis for people living with cancer in Sandwell and West Birmingham. This is an issue the Living with and Beyond Cancer Programme aims to address over the next three years and we are pleased to be working with NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust to achieve this.”

The Living with and Beyond Cancer programme aims to provide patients and their carers with tailored care and support to help them return to health and wellbeing. From diagnosis, the emphasis is on identifying people’s health and wellbeing needs and finding ways to address those needs through the provision of person-centred care where people are supported to self-manage where possible.

This new initiative will deliver a more consistent and effective service with improved access to support for those living with and beyond cancer. The programme will work closely with local GP practices in the delivery of cancer care reviews and Cancer Research UK to improve earlier diagnosis.

The number of people who are living with and surviving cancer is increasing. Within the West Midlands the numbers of people living longer than 20 years with cancer was 159,700 in 2010 and will increase by 50 per cent to 310,300 by 2030*

Dr Nick Harding, Chair at NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, said: “We are delighted to secure this vital funding to help improve the experience of people living with and beyond cancer in Sandwell and West Birmingham. The impact of cancer doesn't suddenly stop when treatment is over and we are committed to transforming services so that our patients benefit from high quality cancer care that supports them in their long-term recovery. Our aim is to ensure that everyone receives the personalised care and support they need, when they need it, to live a happy and healthy life.

“This important programme builds on our strong track record of making a step change in health through partnership and innovation. Working in partnership with local GP Practices and NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust we have already delivered pioneering initiatives such as the Primary Care Commissioning Framework (PCCF) scheme. This has helped to save the lives of people with diabetes and reduce the number of strokes in Sandwell and West Birmingham by identifying over 1,000 people with Atrial Fibrillation (AF).”

Dr Diana Webb, Lead Cancer Clinician for NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust, said: “This is an important step for us in driving forward our plans to make sure that anyone attending our hospitals for cancer care receives the best possible outcomes. We have a dedicated and experienced cancer workforce here at SWBH who are consistently striving for excellence in cancer care delivery and ensuring patients and their carers have the best possible experience. Already performing consistently on our cancer waiting times, we are currently working on plans to deliver optimal cancer pathways to ensure patients receive a faster diagnosis less than a month after their GP referral where cancer is suspected by 2020. This new additional funding will see us continue our close working relationship with Macmillan, SWB CCG, Cancer Research UK and our Primary Care colleagues to ensure that a personalised, patient-centred approach remains at the heart of our care delivery.

“By embedding the Macmillan Recovery Package alongside our clinical care pathways our patients will benefit from holistic needs assessment and care planning and have access to health and wellbeing events which will promote independence and healthy lifestyles. Patient Treatment Summaries and GP led Cancer Care Reviews will see improved communication and understanding between our primary care and acute specialist care colleagues, and new approaches to personalised cancer follow-up  will see patients empowered in their recovery after treatment, and beyond.”