Update on the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre
Rosemary Lucey, Head of the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre was the guest speaker at the November 2014 meeting of The Community Voice, of which we are a member.
The notes below summarise her address.
- Research about the needs of cancer patients was carried out initially in response to patients and carers concerns, in collaboration with the family of Lynda Jackson and Macmillan Cancer Support, who provided the money for the building. The Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre was opened in June 1993 by HRH Prince Charles, and it celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. The Centre introduced a new concept in how to care for cancer patients and their families at all stages of a cancer diagnosis. Because of its success, there are now 171 Macmillan Cancer Centre Support and Information Centres across the country.
- The Centre is funded from a number of sources - East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, donations, awards, research grants, fundraising events and selling Christmas cards.
- Two thirds of cancer sufferers are aged over 65 years, due to the ageing population, and less than 1% are below 24 years of age. There are 200 different types of cancer, affecting many organs of the body, with differing and complex causes. the incidence is increasing by 3% each year.
- 2 million people in the UK are now living with or beyond cancer diagnosis. This number is increasing by 3% every year. The survival rate is increasing and in 2006 1.13 million cancer sufferers were alive 10 years after diagnosis.
- Cancer can have many causes including lifestyle factors, genetics, smoking, diet, alcohol, occupation, obesity, lack of exercise, infection, radiation and sunlight.
- Cancer death rates in the UK have fallen by approx one fifth in the last 40 years and by 10% over the last decade.
- Cancer remains the No 1 fear among the British public, and the impact of the diagnosis can be devastating, causing problems psychologically and physically, including fear of what the future holds.
- The Centre offers support for patients and their families, and gives accurate and up to date information about all aspects of cancer. This service is available at any stage of a patient's illness.
- Over the years the Centre has learned more and more about what patients need and there is a multi-professional team on hand. There are now over 100 people in the staff at the Centre, who continually upgrade their knowledge and improve their communication skills. The staff consists of volunteers, healthcare professionals - including psychotherapists, psychiatrists, therapists and researchers – and also fundraisers and administrators.
- The Centre offers many complementary therapies - Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Relaxation, Indian Head Massage, Reiki and Ear Acupuncture.
- Numerous awards have been won by the Centre including the Nye Bevan, Prime Minister and Prince Charles Awards, BMA awards for information, the latest this year being a Guide for patients having Radiotherapy to the Head, Neck, Mouth and Throat.
- The drop in Centre offers support and information about all aspects of coping with cancer, including benefits advice. There are support groups for many types of cancer, some are linked to other national support groups and charities.
- Anyone affected by cancer can use the centre although there are eligibility criteria for the one to one services such as counselling and complementary therapies.
- Leaflets at the Centre have the ‘Information Standard’ Kite Mark and the Centre was chosen as on of only 15 ‘beacon’ sites within the NHS to introduce the Information Prescription initiative. It won the Macmillan award for ‘Team Excellence’ last year.
- The Centre relies on obtaining grants and donations to maintain its services but needs more space to develop and to carry out services for an increasing number of users.
- The speaker finished by noting that a measure of success is that LMJC has gone from being a pioneer in the field 21 years ago to a mainstream service that responds to over 36,000 requests for help a year.
Margaret Ross thanked the speaker on behalf of the audience, which was endorsed by resounding applause from the floor.