Patients and staff came together last week (22 November) to celebrate the achievements of a three-year programme to provide an excellent experience of care for people affected by cancer at St George’s Hospital.

Macmillan has invested £1.7 million since 2015 to help support patients during what can be an overwhelming and complex experience, and attendees at the event in Wimbledon heard about the benefits of the programme so far.

These include the introduction of ‘surgery school’ that patients can attend to prepare them for an operation, the opening of a unit at the hospital which can help cancer patients avoid admissions to A&E if clinically appropriate, and the funding of six support workers who assist cancer Clinical Nurse Specialists.

A cancer patient being treated at St George’s said about the Macmillan support workers: “I’ve been coming to St George’s for over two and a half years and I can see the difference that the Macmillan support workers make. I feel like I’ve got someone to hold my hand, someone I can always ring.

“I know that my cancer nurse will get any messages that are left with the support worker. They are so lovely and nice. When I call, I may be distressed, and they make it easier. I feel as though I’m in a safe pair of hands which makes such a difference.”

Throughout the programme, the Trust has made sure that people affected by cancer have been involved in shaping the improvements, and are able to contribute their experiences for the benefits of other patients.

Jacqueline Totterdell, Chief Executive of St George’s said: “Hearing patients talk at the event about how the partnership has helped them made me incredibly proud. The results have been truly fantastic – we’ve not only improved access to specialist care, but through involving patients, we’ve been able to address their wider concerns and needs at every stage of their journey – from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.”

Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “It has been a privilege for Macmillan to be able to work with St George’s and invest £1.7 million to improve the experiences of people with cancer. I’m proud this partnership has proved so successful in supporting people during their greatest times of need.  I’m looking forward to embedding these principles in the next phase of our partnership with the Trust.”