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Patients' Benefits Advice Service Expanded

February 01, 2010 10:45 AM

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AN advice service that has helped 1200 cancer patients in Glasgow claim financial help is to be expanded to help people with other long term medical conditions.

The Macmillan Benefits Service Glasgow has generated an impressive £4million in financial support for its clients since it was established just over a year ago.

A partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support, Glasgow City Council, The Pension Service and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, its success has now paved the way for a new financial advice service aimed at helping even more people in Glasgow.

Now an innovative service involving additional partner organisations has been developed by Glasgow City Council to assist people with a range of long-term disabling conditions who experience financial hardship.

The new service, called the Long Term Conditions Financial Inclusion Partnership, will be launched today (1 February 2010) at a special event at Glasgow City Chambers.

The expanded partnership will now include the Council, Macmillan Cancer Support, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland, Glasgow Housing Association, The Pension Service and Job Centre Plus.

Elspeth Atkinson, Macmillan Cancer Support’s director for Scotland, said: “Since it was established just over a year ago, the Macmillan Benefits Service Glasgow has made a huge impact.

“By helping people to maximise their income, this service aims to make life more tolerable for people affected by cancer.

“We know that our financial advice services are highly effective and we are convinced that this type of help will also be of great benefit to people with long term medical conditions, their families and carers.”

Diagnosis of a serious illness can have an enormous impact on someone’s income and many people don’t realise they are eligible for financial help from government.

As well as identifying the welfare benefits and hardship grants patients may be entitled to, workers also fill in the complex forms and will appeal if their client’s application is unsuccessful.

The Macmillan Benefits Service Glasgow and the Long Term Conditions Financial Inclusion Partnership also provide help to carers and families.

City Treasurer Bailie Gordon Matheson said: “When someone experiences a serious long-term condition, such as heart disease or a respiratory illness, their life changes fundamentally. Diagnosis can have a major effect on a family’s income at a time when people may struggle to access benefits.

“By introducing very tightly focused support that takes into account the customer’s condition – and the impact it has on every aspect of their life – we can ease that stress and help them to concentrate solely on improving their health.

“Targeted help for vulnerable people is a key priority for the Council and I am certain this project can build on the success of our partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support to help thousands more Glaswegians protect both their health and their wealth.”

If you’re affected by cancer and would like to talk to someone from the Macmillan Benefits Service Glasgow, call 0141 420 8123. Further information is also available by calling 0808 808 00 00 or by visiting www.macmillan.org.uk .

To find out more about the Long Term Conditions Financial Inclusion Partnership, telephone 0141 287 5901. Further information is available at www.glasgow.gov.uk .

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Notes to editors:

Macmillan Cancer Support’s financial advice services have helped around 20,000 people affected by cancer in Scotland since they launched in Lanarkshire just over six years ago. These services have also secured around £60 million in welfare benefits for people affected by cancer in Scotland since they launched.

Although the Macmillan Benefits Service Glasgow is based within the City Council’s city centre revenue and benefits team, workers regularly visit patients in hospital, at home or at community venues throughout the city.

Outreach work takes place at The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, the Macmillan Cancer Information Service in Easterhouse and at the New Victoria and Stobhill hospitals.

caption - left to right are Alan Cowie, Macmillan's General Manager for Scotland; Dr Linda deCaestecker, NHSGGC's Director of Public Health; and Glasgow City Council Treasurer Bailie Gordon Matheson.
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Linda Summerhayes
Communications Officer
t: 0131 260 3720

or NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429





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