Finalists in 2021 Macmillan Excellence Awards
From left: Caitlin Harvey, Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse for Personalised Care; Janice Minter, Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse; Estelle Le Galliot, Health & Wellbeing Coordinator
The St Georgeâ€™s Macmillan Cancer Information & Support Centre has been shortlisted for a Macmillan Professionals Excellence award, recognising their work supporting people living with cancer.
The Macmillan Cancer Information & Support Centre based at St Georgeâ€™s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was nominated by colleagues in the â€˜Whatever It Takes Awardâ€™ category, which recognises the efforts of individuals or teams who have had to adapt, innovate, and shown resilience in challenging circumstances, as well as always leading with compassion.
At the beginning of 2020, the Macmillan Information and Support Centre at St Georgeâ€™s Hospital had ambitions to consolidate and increase the services it provided to cancer patients. Unfortunately, as a result of the Covid pandemic, the centre had to close its doors and suspend all of its health and wellbeing activities.
The team were determined to make sure none of its patients felt alone or unsupported, so it quickly mobilised to create a YouTube channel and develop other new media initiatives. This meant that cancer patients in the hospital and those shielding at home could still receive the holistic care they needed during the most challenging time of their lives.
St Georgeâ€™s patient Janet said, â€œThe team realised that isolation and shielding (for cancer patients) would be really tough. Macmillan at St Georgeâ€™s stepped up, reaching out to as many patients as they could. It was a lifeline!â€
Health & Wellbeing Coordinator Estelle, â€œWe had worked so hard to build up such a strong service, so when Covid happened there was a real sense of loss. It felt like we had been ripped away from our patients!
â€œBut we quickly adapted, learning a lot about technology very quickly â€“ we uploaded a new video every morning for 16 weeks. We featured health and wellbeing activities like guided meditation, chair-based exercise, singing, and even laughter yoga. It worked so well, and our patients enjoyed it.
â€œOur â€˜CanChatâ€™ telephone support line volunteers remained on standby at home throughout the pandemic, offering an empathic ear to patients wanting to talk to someone who had themselves experienced cancer.
â€œFrom interactive information posters, which helped patients access Macmillan information booklets via a QR code. To â€˜Cancer Treatment Comfort Kitsâ€™ containing useful items that can bring relief to patients undergoing chemotherapy. We were constantly coming up with fresh ideas!
â€œWhen I heard we had been shortlisted for this award, I felt like a super excited 12-year-old! We were instantly on WhatsApp. It is really thrilling!â€
The cancer care team in action
Linda Cornelia, Macmillan Partnership Manager for SW London said, â€œThis is such wonderful news and congratulations to Janice, Estelle, and all the St. Georgeâ€™s cancer care team!
â€œThese prestigious and independent awards highlight excellence across the UK and the impact of Macmillan teams whoâ€™ve gone above and beyond expectations to do whatever it takes to support people living with cancer.
â€œItâ€™s an honour to be able to recognise the commitment, creativity and outstanding work the St Georgeâ€™s team achieved throughout the pandemic, to ensure people living with cancer did not miss out on vital information and support. Cancer is life changing and we believe everyone must get the support they need to live fully.â€
For support, information or if you have any questions, call Macmillan Cancer Support free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9amâ€“8pm) or visit macmillan.org.uk.
November 5, 2021