Cancer patients receiving care closer to home

Members of the rehabilitation team Barbara Machin, Debbie Wardle, and Anne Simpson.
Members of the rehabilitation team Barbara Machin, Debbie Wardle, and Anne Simpson.

Cancer patients in Scarborough have praised a service offering care closer to home.

A rehabilitation team from York travels to Scarborough Hospital to help head and neck cancer patients following treatment.

Scarborough resident Helen Mison.

Scarborough resident Helen Mison.

The Allied Health Professional Clinic team includes dietitians, a speech and language therapist and specialist nurses from York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – roles which have been funded by the charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

Seventy patients were seen by the team in the first 18 months of the clinic – more than half required support transitioning from an artificial feeding tube to eating how they did before treatment.

Barbara Machin, a Macmillan senior dietitian in the team, said: “The feedback from patients has been very positive – the opportunity to have locally-based specialist rehabilitation at a time when side effects from treatments such as pain, fatigue, weight loss and swallowing difficulties are at a peak has been recognised by all those attending.

“If patients had to make the journey to York, they would have done so at great emotional, physical and financial cost to themselves and their families.”

Among the patients to use of the service is 78-year-old Helen Mison from Scarborough.

The retired district nurse has had cancer twice since 2011 – a tumour was found on a vocal cord and then in her larynx.

Helen is usually driven to appointments by her husband Peter, aged 73.

She said: “The team are invaluable and having support so close to home is useful because it takes away the stress of travelling to and from York, especially when the weather is bad.

“They helped me adjust to eating again without a feeding tube and it’s always reassuring to know they are only ever a phone call away if I have any concerns.”

Sarah Child, Macmillan fundraising manager in the Scarborough area, said: “Thanks to donations from the public, Macmillan is able to fund vital roles like these to help local people living with cancer.”