Further investment in cancer support services

From: Scottish Government
Published: Tue Jul 04 2023

£9 million extension of partnership to help patients.

A partnership to support cancer patients and their families to deal with the financial, emotional and physical health effects of the disease is to be extended with a further investment of £9 million.

The programme looks to ensure that everyone affected by cancer in Scotland has access to a specialist key support worker. This means clinicians have more time to offer direct medical and clinical support to patients.

Over the next three years, it is anticipated there will be a gradual increase in access to the service, with a minimum of 14,000 new cancer diagnoses accessing it each year.

The Scottish Government has been working in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support to improve the service offered to those affected by cancer through the Transforming Cancer Care Programme (TCC). This partnership - the first of its kind in the UK - began under the 2016 Cancer Strategy and has seen £18 million invested to date.

The Scottish Government has agreed to continue the partnership and provide an additional three years of funding for the Improving the Cancer Journey services. Each partner will invest an additional £4.5 million.

Making the announcement ahead of a visit to NHS Forth Valley to celebrate the NHS 75th anniversary, First Minister Humza Yousaf yesterday said:

“Our recently published Cancer Strategy and Action Plan places an emphasis on person-centred care for all and supporting the mental health of cancer patients and their families.

“We have committed to launch the final Improving the Cancer Journey service, in partnership with Macmillan, over the next three years. We will also commit to spreading this successful model to all areas in Scotland over the coming year.

“This will see an additional £9 million of joint investment and ensure that everyone diagnosed with cancer in Scotland has access to a key support worker. It will be of great benefit to patients while also easing pressure on the NHS by freeing up clinicians.”

Janice Preston, Head of Partnerships at Macmillan Cancer Support in Scotland, yesterday said:

“The Macmillan Improving the Cancer Journey (ICJ) Services are available for anyone affected by cancer. By the end of 2024, everyone in Scotland who needs support will have the chance to talk to an ICJ practitioner who will help individuals to identify their needs and access expert support, from benefits advice to emotional support - whatever they might need.

“This is a unique service for people affected by cancer that helps to reduce pressure on the NHS and is making a really positive difference to people living with cancer and their families. Since 2014, these vital, non-medical services have already helped over 18,500 people and this money will mean they can keep on transforming cancer support across Scotland.

“We are excited that, through our partnership with the Scottish Government, another £9 million is being made available to ensure people can continue to get this help for another three years.”


  • The roll out of the Improving the Cancer Journey model to every Health & Social Care Partnership follows 4 key principles:
    • 100% of adults diagnosed with cancer, within agreed criteria, will be invited or referred to an ICJ service to speak to a specialist practitioner.
    • An ICJ practitioner with the service user will complete a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) and generate a care plan to meet the needs identified.
    • Local community assets will be identified and utilised to support the service user in meeting their needs.
    • The service user will be followed up by the ICJ practitioner in the community to monitor progress with agreed actions.

Company: Scottish Government

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