With the advent of a growing NHS-wide need to share cancer care and particularly post-acute care within the community and GP/CCG jurisdictions, the Milton Keynes Cancer Patient Partnership (MKCPP) has spearheaded a new initiative in Milton Keynes entitled “Cancer and Beyond – your way ahead.”
This is within the MKCPP’s role as the only patient-led local cancer resource, information & support charity in our region.
The MKCPP has formed a small Cancer and Beyond working group in partnership with Angela Sheldrick, Macmillan Living With and Beyond Cancer Project manager for Milton Keynes, GP practice staff and practice Patient Participation Group (PPG) members. The Citizens’ Advice service is also involved as an information provider.
Cancer and Beyond: your way ahead
Late in 2016 the working group launched a pilot project at a GP practice in Milton Keynes (Whaddon Medical Centre, west Bletchley). About 350 of their cancer patients were sent a friendly but detailed survey asking them what local support services and activities they would find helpful, delivered in the form of workshops at the surgery.
The response was much larger than anticipated, and underlined strong needs as follows:
(1.) Information about practical issues e.g. employment, benefits, housing, managing finances etc.
(2.) Information and signposting to local complementary therapies, hair and beauty, recreation, recuperative exercise, hobbies, etc.
(3.) This to be delivered in a friendly, informal ambience with light refreshments, at the GP practice – not the hospital – and be patient-led (MKCPP and PPGs).
A structure for workshops was formed on this basis, to be focused as follows:
Citizens’ Advice – practical information as described in (1.) above
NHS HCPs and Macmillan staff – national, generic cancer & healthcare information
MKCPP – local, in-depth cancer & healthcare information delivered by local people as in (2.) above
Cancer and Beyond: rollout to the community
The pilot workshop was a resounding success with very enthusiastic participation – and feedback – from cancer patients and carers. Two further sessions since then have taken place with equal enthusiasm, with many attendees coming to all three session so far. Audience numbers to date have ranged from 35-40.
The workshops are being held in the early evening with informal networking to start over tea/coffee, one hour’s talks and lively discussions, plus further informal networking afterwards. Several participants have been seen sharing contact details with their fellow cancer patients/carers, and there has been talk of forming their own cancer support group at the GP practice.
A second GP practice in Bletchley – the Red House, whose practice manager and members of their PPG have attended the WMC workshops – launched their first workshop early in October. As with the previous workshops at the other GP surgery, this also was a resounding success with about 30 attendees, and standing room only for some. The Cancer & Beyond MKCPP working group is meeting in December to plan further workshops for 2018.
Although it is still early days, it would appear that:
- a) there is a demand for these workshops for cancer patients, their carers and families and
- b) the method of delivering the workshops works well, i.e. a friendly format that engages all, informally presented/discussed information, and the opportunity for cancer patients and carers to network casually with their (cancer) peers at local level.
You can also keep up to date with all MKCPP activities on our Tracker page, here.