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Three new Macmillan cancer support workers have started work at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

Tina Rudkin, Zara Gladwin-Coupe and Nicki Leah are supporting people affected by colorectal, prostate and breast cancer respectively.

Their role involves talking to people during or just after a diagnosis of cancer and listening to their concerns and worries.

The support workers work closely with the Clinical Nurse Specialists in their teams and also act as a consistent point of contact for people throughout their treatment.

Nicki said: “That continuity is so important. People feel safe when they see a face they recognise.”

Having these meaningful conversations is also helping the support workers to identify the needs of the people they speak to, which could be anything from questions about their treatment to worries about family or finances, so they can direct them towards other support services which can offer help or advice.

Zara added: “The people we see trust us and by having these conversations we can pull out valuable information about their needs. That’s where we can really make the difference.”

The posts are being trialled for two years as part of the Macmillan Living With and Beyond Cancer Programme and Sheree Hall, Macmillan lead cancer nurse at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, believes the individual support these members of staff can offer will make a big difference.

She added: “Macmillan funding has enabled us to pilot these roles and really think differently about the cancer workforce; they will have a direct impact on the meaningful conversations staff can have with people affected by cancer. 

“The support workers will be able to support patients in clinical settings or over the telephone to have these conversations or may be able to take some duties from a Clinical Nurse Specialist to enable them to have the time to have a discussion with someone who has more complex needs.”