Northern Ireland

Charity offers £1m boost to cancer services

Ciaran Devane and Michael McGimpsey
Image caption Macmillan's Ciaran Devane and Health Minister Michael McGimpsey sign the £1m agreement

A leading charity is to invest £1m on projects that will improve long-term services for cancer patients in Northern Ireland.

Macmillan Cancer Support will provide the funding as part of a two year initiative with the Department of Health.

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey will sign an agreement alongside Macmillan's chief executive Ciaran Devane at Stormont on Tuesday. Mr McGimpsey said he "welcomed" the £1m pledge.

He added: "Many people who have treatment for cancer can now expect many years of life ahead.

"I'm confident that this initiative and the pilot projects that will flow from it will bring new and innovative ways of supporting patients and their carers and ensuring they benefit from an increased quality of life."

More than 55,000 people in Northern Ireland are living with the after effects of cancer, according to Macmillan.

'Abandoned'

The charity is now looking for bids for pilot projects from health care providers, with the intention of improving long-term services for cancer patients.

Mr Devane said: "We know that patients often feel abandoned after their treatment has ended. They feel unprepared and need more information about what to expect.

"We also need to move away from the current model of follow-up which focuses solely on physical symptoms and illness to one that focuses on health and well-being."

Cancer patients also welcomed the funding announcement.

Belfast woman Teresa Majury, 46, was diagnosed with kidney cancer two years ago.

She said: "I feel like there needs to be more effort to treat people as individuals and to help us access information and support that is right for us as individuals.

"I also think I would feel like less of a burden if I had a single point of contact, like a nurse, who could address any queries I had about my condition."

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