BARNSLEY’S cancer support workers have been praised as they reach the first anniversary of their appointments.

Macmillan Cancer Support invested more than £180,000 to fund the three roles, which enhance the cancer care and support already offered at Barnsley Hospital.

Diane Rawson, Amanda Prout and Shavaune Herbert work with the breast, colorectal and urology cancer teams at the hospital.

They help patients access support which may not need clinical nurse specialist input – and have carried on working throughout the coronavirus crisis.

The roles support the holistic needs experienced by patients including the emotional, financial and psychological impacts of a cancer diagnosis.

Over the past year, Diane, Amanda and Shavaune have supported around 300 people with personalised care conversations, and hundreds more with advice, support and signposting to local services that can help.

Diane, from Grimethorpe, who works with the breast cancer team, explained: “The support offered is personalised to each individual. There’s no one size fits all.

“Our role is to ensure patients are able to discuss their concerns, to talk about what’s important to them so we can support the patient to live well and be safe.

“It’s about recognising what matters to the patient, for example, family, emotional issues, financial concerns and being kept informed about what’s happening.

“We work with the clinical nurse specialists to offer patients and their family reassurance that there’s someone they can call at diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.

“When we started this job a year ago, we could never have imagined what 2020 had in store, but despite the pandemic, we’ve been able to continue providing the support so desperately needed during this worrying time.

“We know we’re making a difference to people affected by cancer in the town.”

Sara Andrews, the Macmillan project manager and lead cancer nursing manager who helped secure the funding for the support worker roles, said: “I can’t overestimate the difference our Macmillan workers make to people affected by cancer in the town.

“They don’t just take workload off the clinical nurse specialists, they add something extra. They bridge that gap between the hospital and community services.

“The feedback we’ve had from patients has been amazing. They give people resilience and strength through treatment and beyond.

“Our hope is that in the future, we have cancer support workers in all cancer sites, supporting our residents and their families when they need it most.”