Vital support for vulnerable cancer patients

Macmillan’s information and support service in Bolton is continuing to provide vital emotional, financial and practical support to vulnerable cancer patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

While its centres at the Royal Bolton Hospital, Bolton Hospice and Bolton One remain temporarily closed, the team is still providing essential services by phone.

Since the start of April, it has made 100 referrals to the Macmillan Benefits Advice Service and secured more than £300,000 in financial gains for people living with cancer.

The team has also applied for more than 35 Macmillan Grants worth £12,500 – an average of £360 per person.

Sue Summerfield, the Macmillan service manager, said: The team has been providing regular telephone support for those who are struggling emotionally during the Coronavirus outbreak. This outbreak has had a huge impact on cancer patients, which has caused more anxiety on top of everything else they are dealing with.

“Some people have had their treatment plans changed or they have had to shield and have been unable to see their loved ones. So many are feeling vulnerable and isolated and team can help by providing regular phone calls or signpost to other services that can help.”

The Bolton Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service can provide:

  • Emotional and practical support
  • Macmillan Benefits Advice
  • Assistance with completing benefits applications
  • Help with applying for Blue Badges (subject to certain criteria being met)
  • Macmillan information sent direct to the home
  • Responses to any questions

Macmillan’s benefits adviser Sara Wiper can provide advice and carry checks to see what benefits people might be entitled to, and help with applications forms. Macmillan Grants, a means-tested one-off payment for people affected by cancer, may also be available.

The team is also keeping in touch with patients and providing information on social media, offering one-to-one support via Facetime or Skype, and holding ‘catch-up with a cuppa’ and relaxation sessions on Zoom.

Sue added: “Although our doors are temporarily closed, which we are reviewing on a regular basis, we are still very much here for people affected by cancer across Bolton. If you have any worries or concerns about cancer and you are struggling, please contact us, or if you are lonely and just need to chat – we are here for you.”

Anyone affected by cancer in Bolton can contact the team on 01204 663059 or email boltoncancerinfo@nhs.net, Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm (excluding Bank Holidays).

Search for the service on Facebook and Twitter using @boltonmacinfo 

Comprehensive information and support, including Macmillan’s latest guidance and advice on the impact of coronavirus on cancer care, is also available at www.macmillan.org.uk/coronavirus

The national Macmillan Support Line is open 8am to 8pm every day on 0808 808 00 00.

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