Strong public response to cancer and palliative care project

A FANTASTIC response from the public has seen a group set up to help guide a project which could help shape the Dumfries and Galloway’s cancer treatment pathways and palliative care.

Eleven people have come forward to create a Public Engagement Group which will play a key role in the Macmillan Cancer Pathways and Palliative Care Improvement Project.

Alexandra Little is the Strategic Planning Manager/Commissioner for Cancer, Palliative Care, Women and Children’s Services and Child Health Commissioner in NHS Dumfries and Galloway, and she said: “We were absolutely overwhelmed by the response we received to our call for people to get help take this project forward.

“And we believe that this reaction illustrates the significance and importance of the focus of the work being undertaken is for the people of Dumfries and Galloway.

“Over coming months will be entering a period of engagement with people who use and have experience of cancer and palliative, end of life and bereavement services, and the eleven people who are now forming our Public Engagement Group are set to play a very important role.”

When the project was formed an invitation went out to anyone in the region with experience or insight into cancer treatment and palliative care to play a part.

Alexandra said: “The response was tremendous.

“And the people who have come forward have either firsthand experiences of using services, or have had family members with that experience.

“The Public Engagement Group will now play a key role in supporting and influencing the project team and making recommendations about project activities.

“The group will also have a say in how the £120,000 grant from Macmillan Cancer Support will be allocated to help improve services and people’s experiences of care.”

The eleven members of the public undertook Volunteer training arranged by the NHS to help them in their role. 

The group have also been responsible for influencing leaflet design and shaping surveys that will be going out in January 2019.

Two meetings have now taken place, with the next due to be held in February 2019.

Tom Mitchell is a member of the group.

He said: “A review of cancer and palliative care of the residents of Dumfries and Galloway is being launched. An essential part of the review is a survey of the experiences and opinions of the residents.

“It is essential that as many people as possible participate in the review so that the best possible service can be provided.” 

Gail Copeland is also a group member.

She said: “I am enjoying being involved with the group and working together to make a difference for people with cancer. I’m looking forward to seeing what new developments and new ideas come up during the lifetime of the project.” 

The Macmillan Cancer Pathways and Palliative Care Improvement Project will be entering a period of engagement with people who use and have experience of cancer and palliative, end of life and bereavement services in Dumfries and Galloway.

It will also engage with people in the NHS, public sector and third sector organisations that provide the services.

There will be a range of activities including surveys, focus groups and an opportunity to speak in person with a member of the project team. 

Details will be provided in coming weeks.

In the meantime, the project team of Cancer Lead Stella Milsom, Palliative Care Lead Liz Forsyth, Palliative Care Lead and Laura Grierson, Project Support Officer are available to discuss any aspect of the project.

If you are interested in being involved in the project or would like to chat with any of the team please contact Laura Grierson, Project Support Officer, by e-mailing her at dg.MiP@nhs.net or by calling 01387 272725.