A DIAGNOSIS of cancer can raise concerns about financial security for patients, or their carers, as they may be unable to work for some time.
A new Macmillan welfare benefits advice service is being piloted at Basildon Hospital offering one-to-one advice and practical help to ensure that cancer patients receive the welfare benefit support they are entitled to during a very difficult time.
Emma Elliott, Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse at Basildon Hospital, explains: “Finances can have a huge impact on cancer patients, as they worry about how they will pay their bills if they are unable to work.
“A recent survey of our cancer patients highlighted that advice about benefit entitlements was an area they would like more support with, so we are pleased to now be able to offer this service at the hospital.”
The welfare advice sessions are held in the Macmillan Cancer Information Point, in the outpatient department at Basildon Hospital every Monday morning and Friday afternoon. An appointment is needed, and can be arranged by calling 0800 019 6003 (24 hour answerphone) or by email at email@example.com
The service is provided by Colchester Borough Council with funding from Macmillan and covers mid and south Essex. The service aims to support as many people affected by cancer as possible through its model of trialing surgeries at a range of hospitals around mid and south Essex and offering telephone support.
Cllr Annie Feltham, Portfolio Holder for Communities and Leisure Services, said: “Colchester Borough Council works closely with cancer patients to help them to understand what benefits they are entitled to claim for and advise them of their options. Welfare Benefit Officers can provide practical help such as filling out forms and support them through any financial obstacles they come up against.
“As well as running two sessions a week in the Macmillan Infospace at the hospital, the Welfare Benefit Officers will also be visiting patients on the ward. However, the sessions at Basildon Hospital are for anybody affected by cancer who needs welfare benefits advice, not just for patients at the hospital.”
Michelle Bath, Macmillan Development Manager for Essex, says: “People affected by cancer tell us that money worries are a close second to the anxiety caused by their cancer diagnosis. Cancer has a massive impact on people’s finances. Often people who have had a diagnosis of cancer are left wondering how they are going to pay the mortgage, the rising heating bills or cover new expenses such as trips to hospital and car parking charges.