First anniversary of workplace support for cancer patients

1st November 2016 12:00

1st November 2016

As we celebrate the first anniversary of our Specialist Health and Work Service, recent research has suggested that 18% of people diagnosed with cancer face discrimination when returning to work. Also that one in four cancer patients in Scotland feel pressure in returning to work before they are ready, while 23% give up altogether.  

For the past year Beatson Cancer Charity has been actively supporting patients and families with these issues and is continuously aiming to improve outcomes for those employees living with cancer. 

The Specialist Health and Work Service is made up of a team of NHS practitioners experienced in health and work issues, particularly for those who have been affected by cancer. The service supports patients who are remaining in work, returning to work or looking for a new job. They will be given advice and guidance through every stage. Here are a few ways they can help patients. 

  •     Work with patients and their employer where required to agree a return to work plan.•    Advice on any adjustments that may be needed to make sure their return to work is as smooth as possible.
    •    Support patients making decisions regarding their working future. 
    •    Attend or advise on return to work meetings that will help employers understand the patients’ needs. 
    •    Identify employability services which can help patients to find new employment opportunities. 

how we've helped already... 

The service has been continuing to grow over the past year and since November 2015 we have supported 164 patients and families in the west of Scotland with their work related issues. Thanks to our health and work service specialists we have been able to provide comprehensive assistance in various areas such as returning to work in the form of prioritisation of key issues, work readiness, raising employers awareness, job requirements and capacity.  

Our aim is to raise awareness of how health and work has been successful, we are aquatinting employees with the Equality Act and assisting with work adjustments, phased returns, accrued leave, altered hours, amended duties and many more. Our services also include confidence building, fatigue management and motivational support.  

Former patients Stephen and Frances explain in their own words how the service has supported them. 

“Looking back, the team was phenomenal and brilliant because you’re dealing with all this emotional stuff and they got me right away and understood what I was going through in a work point of view. I would recommend the specialist health and work service to anyone.” -Stephen 

"I would have given in not going back to work if it wasn’t for the staff being there to support me. speaking to them, meeting them and talking about all the different situations and options was when i realised i could go back” - Frances 

How does the service operate?  

We can provide levels of support to patients in a way that best suits them, with options of a telephone call and face to face meetings. Patients are assigned a practitioner who works closely with the patient to help focus them on returning to work, staying in work or making work-related decisions. They can also support if there are areas of conflict.  

This incredibly worthwhile service is entirely funded by Beatson Cancer Charity. It is a hugely important service which already supports so many patients and their families, and we will do all that we can with the service staff to ensure many more patients receive the support they deserve. 

In order to continue supporting innovative service developments like the Specialist Health and Work Service, Beatson Cancer Charity needs you.