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Nurse-led cancer helpline receives accreditation

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The UK’s only dedicated pancreatic cancer support line has gained a national quality standard from a key organisation representing telephone helplines.

Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Support Line, which is staffed by four specialist nurses, has received a national accreditation from the Helplines Partnership, the membership body for helpline providers.

“We are delighted to have achieved the helplines standard”

Sarah Bell

Its helplines standard is intended to define best practice so that helplines are effectively meeting the needs of callers.

The accreditation assessment process takes three and six months, with evidence gathered on all areas from the helpline’s aims to its day-to-day running.

In its report, Helplines Partnership stated: “The support line is provided by a team of professionally trained clinical nurses.

“Support line nurses were clearly very knowledgeable, yet conveyed complex or sensitive information at an appropriate pace, checking understanding and summarising effectively,” it said.

“Their empathetic approach was welcomed by the callers who had often been unsuccessful in accessing equivalent support or information from NHS sources,” said the report.

Pancreatic Cancer UK said it was now determined to use the standard to help reach its aim of doubling the number of patients and families calling its support line in the next five years.

The charity said its support line has grown from providing support to around 300 people when it was created in 2010, to supporting 2,485 patients and families in 2015-16.

Pancreatic Cancer UK

Nurse-led cancer helpline receives accreditation

Sarah Bell

Its specialist nurses offer support and information about the disease, treatment options and managing symptoms and side effects.

Sarah Bell, head of services at Pancreatic Cancer UK, said: “We are delighted to have achieved the Helplines Standard. It also paves the way for us to achieve our target of doubling the number of patients and families using our support line by 2020.

“All too often we hear from people affected by pancreatic cancer that when they were first diagnosed, they were unable to access the right information and did not know where to turn for help,” she said.

“We are absolutely committed to changing this and to transforming the future for patients and families once and for all,” she added.

The charity noted that around 9,600 patients were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the UK, but just 5% would live for five years or more after diagnosis.


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