Macmillan team continue to provide vital support to vulnerable Bolton cancer patients during COVID-19

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 crisis.

The team, based at Royal Bolton Hospital, Giles House at Bolton Hospice and Bolton One, are still providing their essential services to people living with cancer over the phone, while their centres remain temporarily closed.

Since the start of April, they have made 100 referrals to the Macmillan Benefits Advice Service, securing more than £300,000 in financial gains for people living with cancer. And the team have also successfully applied for over 35 Macmillan Grants, worth £12,500 for cancer patients – on average £360 per person.

Sue Summerfield, the Macmillan Service Manager, said: The team have 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 unable to see their loved ones. So many are feeling vulnerable and isolated and the MCISS team can help by providing regular phone calls or signpost to other services that can help.”

The Bolton Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service (MCISS) 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, is still on hand to provide advice and carry out checks, to see what benefits people affected by cancer might be entitled to, as well as helping with completing the applications forms. While Macmillan Grants, which are a means-tested one-off payment for people affected by cancer, may also be available.

The team is also keeping in touch and providing information via social media – https://www.facebook.com/boltonmacinfo/ and @boltonmacinfo – offering one-to-one support via Facetime or Skype, and ‘catch-up with a cuppa’ and relaxation sessions via Zoom.

And they received some fantastic feedback from service users during the coronavirus, including:

  • “I felt they really listened and understood what I was going through. This enabled me to cope better with the practical things, especially financial difficulties.”
  • “It doesn’t matter who you speak to, everyone is willing to help and find an answer for you.”
  • “I cannot start to tell you how amazing the Macmillan Service are. I am genuinely saying that I could not have coped without their support I would have had a breakdown for sure. They are genuine angels.”

Sue added: “Though 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 – Friday, 9am – 4pm (excluding Bank Holidays).

Comprehensive information and support, including Macmillan’s latest guidance and advice on the impact of coronavirus on cancer care, is also available macmillan.org.uk/coronavirus and the Macmillan Support Line is open 7 days a week, between 8am – 8pm, on 0808 808 00 00.

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