Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer


Could changes in Dorset see advocacy provision grow?

On Wednesday 22 October 2014 Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) launched their Clinical Services Review (CSR) at a public event in Bournemouth.  Ultimately the review, the first of its type in the country, will culminate in service wide changes to be implemented 2015-2017.

The CCG explains the CSR as follows:

‘The review is a programme of work analysing the health needs of people in Dorset. It is going to recommend the best way to meet those needs for the next ten years and beyond. We’re also looking at how we can improve ways of working with social care services. The three reasons for the review are:

* Changes to Dorset’s population

* Patients’ needs

* Financial pressures.’

At the launch the intention to carry out continuous public engagement, involvement and communication during each stage of the review was stressed.

Dorset Macmillan Advocacy staff, volunteer advocates and members of our Cancer in Older People Development Group attended the launch. We need to understand the review and the implications for cancer services.  We will participate in engagement in order to demonstrate whenever possible how advocacy support might improve patient experience and help health professionals to be more effective.

Volunteer Advocate Bob Smith and Jenny Rimmer, Macmillan Senior Advocate

Bob Smith and Jenny Rimmer, Senior Advocate, Dorset Macmillan Advocacy in front of the CCP display stand

We have already been involved with the CCG’s separate Cancer and End of Life Clinical Commissioning Programme (CCP) engagement events. As a result of this several posters featuring case studies  from the publication Every Step of the Way  were chosen to feature in the CCP’s display stand at the CSR launch event.

In the afternoon we were invited to stay for the presentation of the CSR to those working in General Practice.

Dr Laura Edwards, a medical director of Wessex Local Medical Committees (LMCs), spoke about the future shape of primary care in Dorset. She acknowledged that the size and complexity of the National Health Service make it difficult even for those working in it to understand. Furthermore she said ‘as patients it can be totally bewildering to figure out what part of the NHS you are supposed to use and when and how’. Of several things that must be done she said specifically that Third Sector organisations must be ‘recognised’ and that health professionals ‘need to use them to their full potential’.

Volunteer Advocates Bob and Maddy Smith with Rigo Pizarro, Cancer and End of Life CCP lead

Volunteer Advocates Bob and Maddy Smith with Rigo Pizarro, Cancer and End of Life CCP lead

Kathleen Gillett, Dorset Macmillan Advocacy