Scotland will become the first nation in the UK to offer cancer patients guaranteed practical and financial advice as part of an £18m investment in support services, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The Scottish Government and Macmillan Cancer Support are each investing £9 million as part of a new programme that aims to provide everyone diagnosed with cancer with a dedicated support worker.
Their ambition is to offer support to every cancer patient in the country by 2023. It is hoped the funding will allow cancer care teams in hospitals to focus solely on the provision of personalised medical care and support.
Nicola Sturgeon announced details of the programme on a visit to the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow on Friday.
“Dealing with the physical and emotional impact of cancer is traumatic enough without having to cope with the stress it places on other aspects of daily life for individuals and their families," she said.
"This £18 million partnership will make Scotland the first country in the UK where cancer patients will have access to dedicated practical, financial and emotional help.
"The programme will help fulfil the Scottish Government's ambitions to ensure everyone with cancer is offered a personal care plan and access to the support they need, making it easier for people to continue their personal and professional lives for as long as possible whilst under-going cancer treatment."
Janice Preston, head of Macmillan Services in Scotland, said: "Cancer doesn't just affect people physically, it can hit every aspect of life. Too often people don't know where to turn for help.
"Medical professionals do all they can but they just don't have the time or knowledge to support people properly with problems like not being able to afford to pay their rent, or find the energy to make themselves meals."
She added: "Macmillan has been testing the effect of offering one-to-one support from diagnosis onwards. The impact it has had in Glasgow and other areas in the country has been incredible.
"We're delighted to be partnering with the Scottish Government to spread this support across Scotland as quickly as possible.
"Our ambition is to have it available to every cancer patient in Scotland within four years, making Scotland the first place in the UK where everyone with cancer will be guaranteed assessment and tailored care from diagnosis onwards."