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National cancer charity Macmillan appoints its first chief nursing officer

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Charity Macmillan Cancer Support has announced the appointment of its first chief of nursing and allied health professionals.

Dr Karen Roberts will join Macmillan from Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust where she was a nurse consultant.

“We need to make sure that nurses and AHPs are well resourced, equipped and confident”

Karen Roberts

Previously a Macmillan clinical nurse specialist in palliative care and gynaecological oncology, she is credited with having extensive and varied clinical, managerial, and research experience.

The charity highlighted that the role was new to Macmillan and had been created in recognition of the “vital part” nurses and AHPs played both in its own work and across wider cancer care.

The move comes against the backdrop of increasing numbers of people being diagnosed with and surviving cancer in the UK – an estimated 2.5 million at present.

The role also comes at a time when nurses and AHPS were “under increasing levels of stress and are not given the time and space for career development and training”, said the charity.

“Karen will be there to articulate and represent the concerns of nurses and AHPs”

Lynda Thomas

In her new role, Dr Roberts will provide leadership and expertise, representing the perspective of nurses and AHPs, as well as engaging with those working in both professions across the UK.

She will also play a key role in the charity’s work in contributing to the national debate around nursing and AHP roles in cancer care.

Dr Roberts said: “I have been proud to be a Macmillan nurse for many years and I am thrilled to be joining the charity in this new role.

“Increasing numbers of people are surviving cancer, and the role of nurses and AHPs is becoming even more essential to meet their ongoing needs,” she said.

Macmillan Cancer Support

National cancer charity appoints first chief nurse

Karen Roberts

“We need to make sure that nurses and AHPs are well resourced, equipped and confident in facing up to the considerable future challenge cancer poses the health service,” she said.

Macmillan chief executive Lynda Thomas added: “Every person diagnosed with cancer should have access to the indispensable support of nurses and AHPs.

“Karen will be there to articulate and represent the concerns of nurses and AHPs at the highest level, so that people with cancer receive the best possible care,” she said.

Ms Thomas said Dr Roberts’ “impressive and varied expertise” in cancer care meant she was “perfectly placed to play a central role in shaping Macmillan’s approach to a wide range of issues affecting cancer patients and the workforce that cares for them”.

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