Key Roles Filled in Region’s Cancer and Palliative Care Project

A PROJECT which could help shape the region’s cancer treatment pathways and palliative care is driving forward – with two key figures appointed.

The Macmillan Cancer and Palliative Care Improvement Project sees Stella Milsom take on the role of Cancer Lead, while Laura Grierson is serving as the Project Support Officer.

Explaining the joint project from Macmillan and Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, Stella said: “The aim of the project is to engage with people who both deliver and receive services, support and care so as to understand how the cancer journey may be improved.
“And it’s to support consideration by the NHS Dumfries and Galloway Board on future pathways of care.”

Macmillan Cancer Support are providing total funding of £340,000 to undertake the work, which will include significant engagement work within and beyond Dumfries and Galloway.

Included in the funding is £120,000 to implement improvement initiatives that may be taken forward throughout the project.

Stella said: “It’s fantastic to be working with Macmillan on this project. It’s a great opportunity, and there is a real need here for this project as we’re a very rural region and there’s a different dynamic to delivering services to our communities.
“It’s really important that with cancer pathways that we’re working with patients and their families to ensure they’re receiving the best care they can.”

Meanwhile, Laura Grierson is taking on the role of Project Support Officer.

Laura said: “I’ll be the first point of contact, and I’ll be supporting the Cancer Lead and Palliative Care Lead.”
She added: “I’ve worked in Strategic Planning and Commissioning for nearly 15 years so I’ve got good relationships with staff, the Third Sector providers, and carers, and I’ll be doing a lot of planning and organising around the consultation events and also monitoring and evaluating of feedback which comes back and which will be included in the report going to the NHS Board.”

This project aims to understand the experiences of people living with cancer and those who require palliative care. This will include exploring the cancer pathways which link Dumfries and Galloway to specialist centres in the Central Belt.

Penny Halliday is chairwoman of Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership which is responsible for the delivery of cancer treatment services in the region.

And as a member of the region’s cancer User Involvement Group which has given its backing to the project at its current stage, she said: “A member of the cancer User Involvement Group was a crucial member of the panel which interviewed staff for this project, so that’s been a really good start involving people affected by cancer.

And that will continue right throughout the whole region – people affected by cancer being part of the co-production as well as their families and friends, because just about everybody’s been affected by cancer in some way.”
Penny added: “We really welcome this 23-month project because it’s going to give communities a chance to voice what’s important to them as individuals and family members regarding palliative and end-of-life care.
“It will also help address what those are – because sometimes there’s a misconception that palliative is the same as end-of-life care, and of course it absolutely is not.
“So I think it will drive forward a very important conversation within the communities and create a lot of understanding.”

Anyone interested in contributing to the work of the project is asked to contact Laura Grierson by emailing [email protected] or phoning 01387 244232 (ext 64938) or 07827552442.

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