Macmillan Cancer Support – Castle Cary & District Branch
Macmillan Birthday Event
As the branch of Macmillan situated in the town in which our founder was born, and in fact died at the end of his career in the Civil Service, we always have an event on or around August 10th to remember his birthday.
This year we were asked if the evening could be used to mount a consultation and information event to be arranged by Dr Amelia Randle as the Clinical Lead for Cancer, Somerset CCG, accompanied by staff from local doctors’ surgeries. This we were happy to do and we provided light refreshments for the occasion.
A total of approximately 40 people attended and heard presentations by Dr Randle and Maggie Crowe (Development Manager for Macmillan in the Bath and Somerset area) and a healthy discussion took place. Quite a lot of attention focused on the question of hypothecation of local funds, in other words why money raised locally cannot be spent locally. the reasons were described in detail and it was shown that quite often more money is spent locally than has been raised locally since the total Macmillan income is derived from many sources of which local fund raising by committees is a small part.
Other questions involved the flow of information about patient’s treatment and some of the difficulties faced in this area, it was accepted as a problem but the audience were assured that much effort is in hand to improve the IT systems and hence aid the flow of information.
Participants who attended were all asked to fill in a form with their comments and observations about cancer services and the consultation closed with these comments being returned to Dr Randle.
The comments received were:
Barriers to early diagnosis: Denial by the patient, Patient fear of how it will affect the family, Denial of loved one and consequent failure to encourage patient to seek help, failure of patient to give doctor a clear picture of symptoms. Concern whether all the local hospitals will offer the same quality of diagnosis, care and after care leads to patients delaying taking the first step. fear, time, embarrassment, wasting doctor’s time. I’m not keen on the idea of having a mammogram in Morrison’s car park. Shortage of money in the NHS.
Barriers to recovery: I know only of patients who have had every help available whether successful (as in most cases) or not.
How can we overcome these barriers: Publicity about Macmillan Cancer Support, Helping local committees with all this fundraising, Publicity about success stories, Non-medical listening ear person maybe available in the surgery or in hospital reception area. Treat patients with respect and listen to them, more communication between organisations, regular local support clinics in GP practices might be helpful to people who are concerned and after treatment. The doctors need extra time to listen to patients. Having different organisations working together.