Residents suffering from cancer and other life limiting illnesses can now benefit from a new specialist service.
Two Macmillan social workers have been appointed by North Tyneside Council to offer continuity of care to people on their GP Palliative Care Register.
They will work closely with health and social care colleagues and community support agencies to assist the person get the right support, as well as helping their families and carers.
It will help the person remain independent as possible, have the correct information and support to make informed decisions, and get them out of hospital early to spend more time at home or in their preferred place of care.
The service – developed in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group and North Tyneside GPs – will see Vicky Mason and Beth Diboll based at North Tyneside General Hospital.
Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “This service will be a great help and comfort to people given a diagnosis of cancer or other life limiting illnesses.
“It is reassuring that these two wonderful Macmillan social workers will be there for patients; dealing with anything from home and personal care to emotional support and financial advice on paying the bills and getting back to work.”
“Vicky and Beth will also support the carers who are so often forgotten when caught up in the system of hospital visits and treatment.
“It is a terrible time for them too and many carers find they benefit from having an independent person to talk to, as well as breaks or the chance to continue working through respite care and sitting services.”
Paul Paes, head of service for palliative care in Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust, said: “Patients with life threatening conditions and their families can face a number of emotional, financial and practical problems, just at a time when everything else is falling apart.
“Having our two new dedicated Macmillan palliative care social workers will significantly help to address this.
“As partner organisations we are committed to delivering the highest quality seamless palliative care to the residents of North Tyneside in all settings – this is a welcome, crucial step in achieving that goal.”
Dr Kathryn Hall, Macmillan GP and Clinical Lead for Palliative Care and Care Homes for North Tyneside CCG, added: “The Macmillan Social Workers are a welcome and significant addition to the care for patients who have life limiting illnesses and their carers.
“Vicky and Beth are there to help patients and carers negotiate some of the emotional and practical challenges they face when diagnosed with a life threatening condition.
“Already, there has been a huge impact on the well being of the families they have been involved with.
“The Macmillan Social Workers are part of the commitment from all the partner organisations to deliver high quality patient centred palliative care to North Tyneside residents.”
Karen Stenlund, Macmillan development manager in the north east, said: “Macmillan knows that people living with cancer and their carers have social care needs as well as health needs.
“They tell us they need emotional and practical support and financial help and advice throughout their cancer journey. These new Macmillan social workers will be a great source of support for people affected by cancer in North Tyneside.”