Cancer patients and their families are being forced to wait to talk to an NHS counsellor during difficult times.
Local charity CancerCare is launching a campaign ‘Talk to CancerCare’ for patients who they say are having to wait up to 12 months for support from the NHS.
But although Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust admits there is a wait – they say they have cut this down to 22 weeks.
Emma Nazurally, mindsmatter service manager at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Waiting times are currently at 22 weeks in North Lancashire and while this is not ideal, we have a plan in place to which we are working hard to ensure these waiting times are quickly reduced. This includes recruitment to the team to include an additional counsellor, and extending our menu of service to offer a wider variety of treatment options to ensure people entering the service are accessing the right level of support suited to their needs.”
CancerCare currently offer up to 20 free counselling sessions at their Slynedales Centre on Slyne Road.
Neil Townsend, CancerCare chief executive, said: “Whilst the NHS are great at treating and dealing with the medical side of things that much needed emotional support is not widely available. But people shouldn’t have to wait for help if they are in distress. Private counselling sessions can also be very expensive.”
Lancashire Trust offers the option for telephone counselling which will help set up a suitable plan for patients. They are currently in the process of establishing connections with cancer services across Lancashire.