Cancer patients’ financial help

ACCESS to financial support is essential for cancer patients and Macmillan Cancer Support has so far helped Scottish patients apply for the £100 million of benefits.

Macmillan Cancer Support are now campaigning for every cancer patient to have routine access to financial support and they plan on asking the next Scottish Parliament to commit to a personalised care plan highlighting the finanical support available to patients in their area.

The charity is also urging Scots to back its calls by signing up to its Change Cancer Care Today online campaign. Each sign up triggers an email highlighting the charity’s calls to local candidates standing in the forthcoming Scottish Parliament elections.

The next Parliament is being asked to put people at the heart of its services and commit to: information, support and benefits advice as a routine part of the cancer journey; access to a cancer clinical nurse specialist for everyone diagnosed with cancer; transform post-treatment care to meet the needs of patients.

In the Borders the Borders Macmillan Welfare Benefits Partnership of Macmillan, Scottish Borders Council’s Welfare Benefits Service, NHS Borders and The Pension Service has helped secure more than £2.6 million for local people affected by cancer since it launched 18 months ago .

Someone who is grateful for support he from the Borders Macmillan Welfare Benefits Partnership is Arthur Tran.

Arthur, 79, received help to claim Attendance Allowance and a Macmillan grant after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

The retired storeman said: “I think the help my benefits adviser Marie Wilson gave me was wonderful. She told me what she thought I might be entitled to and filled in all the forms for me. It really took a weight from my shoulders.”

Typically, Macmillan advisers secure welfare benefits like Disability Living Allowance, Employment Support Allowance and extra Working Tax Credits.

More than £8 million in disability benefits is still going unclaimed by people diagnosed with terminal cancer in Scotland. But this is an improvement from 2004 when £15 million went unclaimed prior to the charity introducing its benefits services.

Elspeth Atkinson, Macmillan’s director for Scotland, said: “The stress of money worries can ultimately impact on a cancer patient’s health and the additional money can make a huge difference to the quality of their lives.

“The next Scottish Parliament must take the welfare of cancer patients seriously.”

To find out more about Macmillan’s Change Cancer Care Today campaign, visit www.macmillan.org.uk/scottishelection

The Macmillan Welfare Benefits Partnership, telephone 01896 849802 or email wbs@scotborders.gsx.gov.uk.