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Friday, 22 October 2021
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Hywel Dda Health Charities: Flexible new cancer counselling service prides itself on no waiting list

A new team of specialist counsellors is helping people with cancer and their carers in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire – thanks to charitable donations.

Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, is funding a pilot project, offering psychological support to people diagnosed with cancer and to their carers.

As well as helping patients and their carers, the new service is also working with the cancer workforce in Hywel Dda, providing training so healthcare staff can enhance their skills in offering psychological support, along with supervision and support to empower the cancer teams.

The Cancer Psychological Support Service (CaPS) is run and managed by Hywel Dda University Health Board and sees the four counsellors working across the whole of the three counties covered by Hywel Dda.

The Cancer Psychological Support Service offers short-term, robust, therapeutic help, of six to eight counselling sessions, with one of the specialist cancer counsellors.

Over the pilot period, which will come to an end in March next year, the service will have helped hundreds of cancer patients and their families.

The service prides itself on having no waiting list and being flexible and fitting around the needs of patients, carers and staff.

This resource of specialist cancer knowledge, advice and education in psychological aspects of care is aimed at promoting positive coping skills for the people affected by cancer and their carers, along with support for the cancer workforce.

The service is overseen by Lead Cancer Nurse Gina Beard and managed by counselling lead Julie Brennan.

Gina said:

“Our objectives are to give psychological support to those with cancer and their carers, and also to support the cancer workforce and offer extra training.

“Before beginning the project, we spoke with our colleagues in psychological services and with charities working with cancer patients to fully understand the needs.

“Our four part-time counsellors are giving valuable help, on a one-to-one basis, albeit virtually at the moment. There has been really positive feedback about the benefits to cancer patients and their carers, especially those who have been isolating.

“The icing on the cake for us is that we have no waiting list, which is unheard of in health services. We know that the last thing you want after a cancer diagnosis is to have to wait for psychological support and help.

“We are hoping that the pilot project will be extended because we have real evidence of the huge value of the counselling service.”

Hywel Dda Health Charities has been able to fund the pilot project, thanks to generous fundraising and donations from within our local communities.

Head of Hywel Dda Health Charities, Nicola Llewelyn, said:

“This CaPS project is an excellent example of the difference that the generous donations made to local cancer services can make for NHS patients, their families and staff.

“We are pleased to have worked with our colleagues in cancer services to fund this pilot project, and feedback shows that the service is making a real difference.

“The support of our local communities enables us to provide services over and above what the NHS can provide in the three counties of Hywel Dda, and we are extremely grateful for every donation we receive.”

The Cancer Psychological Support Service can be contacted at: CaPS.hdd@wales.nhs.uk.

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