‘Prevention and Health and Social Care’ was the subject of a development session for the Bournemouth and Poole Health and Wellbeing Board which was facilitated by Viv Aird CEO of Bournemouth CVS and Christopher Beale CEO of Poole CVS. Dorset Cancer Advocacy was invited to describe and demonstrate what we do as an example of innovative voluntary sector service provision.
The Board first heard from Alex Massey, Senior Policy Officer of Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) who explained the key recommendations from the association’s recent Taskforce report The Prevention Revolution: Transforming health and social care. The report calls for preventative support, advice and treatment to be ‘fully integrated into all stages of the care pathway with the aim of addressing the wider determinants of ill health’. The report emphasises ‘the role played by voluntary organisations in providing preventative, holistic care in community settings; fostering innovation; strengthening patient engagement; and catalysing cultural change.’
I then illustrated how although our work cannot prevent cancer it is holistic and can help to mitigate many aspects of the impact of cancer. Independent advocacy support ensures that the cancer patient is more than a mere passenger on their cancer journey, it puts them in the driving seat. Giving voice, choice and control through peer volunteer advocacy means working with an advocacy partner to help them to make informed choices about treatment and care and then to look ahead and plan for the possible consequences of that treatment. In doing so we improve wellbeing and help to build resilience which in turn supports a person’s ability to cope with unplanned transitions in life such as a cancer diagnosis.
Kathleen Gillett, Dorset Cancer Advocacy