social care for people living with cancer is resulting in
costly and preventable admissions to hospital, according to
Macmillan Cancer Support.
People living with cancer, or the consequences of their
treatment, often need help with emotional problems, side
effects of treatment, getting back to work and paying the
bills - but new research shows their needs are being ignored
by the NHS and local authorities.
Jane Gammage, head of Lifecare at Macmillan Cancer Support,
said: “The social care system is failing the 1.6 million
people living with cancer in England and their carers. The
perception is that people are either cured of cancer or
"There is no recognition of the growing need for social
care services from the moment someone is diagnosed, throughout
treatment and beyond. With more and more people living longer
with or beyond cancer today, cancer care must mean support
for the whole person, and not just treatment for the disease.
“A lack of co-ordination between health and social
care teams mean that in many areas, good social care services
for cancer patients and their carers simply don’t
exist and people are left to fend for themselves. Cancer
must be considered as much as social care concern as it
is a health priority, and we hope this is acknowledged in
the Government’s Green Paper expected next month.”
New research by Macmillan found that many patients and
carers are not referred to social care services for assessment
and those who are often do not get services which are flexible
and responsive enough to their specific needs.
Poor promotion of services and insufficient signposting
by healthcare professionals to available support means patients
often don’t know where to go for help and a lack of
transparency around the current social care system is also
leaving patients confused as to whether they qualify for
help or not.
Friends and family are bearing the brunt for the lack of
social care which has a knock on effect on their health
and finances. The fact people are living longer with cancer
means the situation is only going to get worse.
Macmillan wants the social care needs of people living
with cancer and their carers to be better understood by
commissioners, more money to be invested in new, more responsive
services and more integration between Primary Care Trusts
and local government when commissioning social care services.
To read Macmillan’s report, Do Social Care Services
meet the needs of people affected by cancer? visit