22 Oct 2018, 1:46 p.m.

British actress Emma Samms MBE has officially launched a new cancer support service at GRH

British actress Emma Samms MBE has today (Monday 22 October) officially launched a new cancer support service at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

The Macmillan information hub, developed in partnership with Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is the first service of its kind for the hospital, and offers a friendly environment in the main atrium for patients and their families, friends or carers to access a comprehensive range of information and support. It will also feature a private consultation area.

Emma Samms MBE said: ‘We all know someone who’s been affected by cancer, and I have seen how frustrating it can be for a loved one when they’re left with more questions than answers. What does chemotherapy involve? What’s the risk? What do I do when treatment’s finished?

‘But now, anyone with questions about cancer coming to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital will have a place to go where they can drop in without an appointment and receive friendly advice from trained experts.’

Paul Ilott, 63, from Cheltenham, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009 and will be volunteering with the Macmillan hub.

Paul said: ‘The hub exists to give you information on a non-clinical level, not like a doctor or a nurse. I’ve decided to volunteer with the Macmillan hub because I’ve been there so many times and I can help. When you’ve never experienced cancer, you think all the difficulties you’re facing are unique to you and a first. Whilst everyone experiences cancer in their own way, most of the time the problems you’re facing are perfectly common ones, and that’s where the hub comes in.

‘Now 10 of us in our family have gone through cancer – my wife was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1984, and I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009. Once you leave the hospital after treatment there’s nothing afterwards – nothing to do and nowhere to go except worry. The hub wasn’t around when we went through it and it would’ve made a big difference to us, so it’s such great news that it’s here now, just because there’s now information and support where there wasn’t before.’

The service will help people affected by cancer navigate the complex process of being diagnosed with and treated for cancer, and cope with the impact it has on someone’s life. The information on hand will feature everything from treatment options and managing symptoms to advice on financial support if cancer stops you from working.

Catherine North, Fundraising Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: ‘Macmillan has put forward over £157,000 to fund the service, which has covered the cost of the information hub as well as a Macmillan hub manager for three years. They will be on hand to offer advice and can signpost to a range of local health, social and support services.’

Deborah Lee, Chief Executive at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust commented:

“We are so pleased that the Macmillan hub is now available to provide support to patients at Gloucestershire Royal and feel sure that it is going to be an invaluable resource for our patients and the wider public.

“Cancer services are a key area of focus for the Trust and this is an area where we are constantly driving improvements. The new service from Macmillan can only serve to enhance the care we offer, now and in the years to come.

With around 22,000 people living with cancer in Gloucestershire, access to information is becoming increasingly important. Providing cancer information and support can make a real difference to a person’s quality of life by helping them make decisions about their treatment and care and improving their ability to manage life with cancer.