Macmillan, a large British charity which supports people affected by cancer, has expressed that cancer patients must not be forgotten during the coronavirus pandemic. In a recent report in the Guardian, Lynda Thomas, the charity’s chief executive, said “for people with cancer right now, these could be terrifying times – isolating at home, separated from loved ones and suddenly being told the treatment and surgery that had felt like their lifeline could be changed or postponed”.
Macmillan states that around 400 nurses who work for the cancer support charity have been moved to wards in NHS hospitals where there are currently staff shortages. This is the first time its professionals had been redeployed.
The charity predicts that it will lose half of its income this year due to fundraising events being cancelled or postponed, although demand for its services has surged since the beginning of the crisis. Calls about coronavirus to the Macmillan support line rose by 1,600% in March 202 and the charity also gave out grants to 3,500 people with cancer in financial hardship. This is a 14% increase compared with the monthly average for 2019 – totaling £1.1m.
Lynda Thomas said that Macmillan cannot continue to be there for all the people who need them without the support of the public. It is estimated that there will be around 90,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients between March – May 2020, when the coronavirus outbreak is expected to be at its worst in the UK.
The charity has started an emergency appeal to help fund vital services including video calls and virtual workshops to support patients’ wellbeing, a volunteer telephone befriending service for those in isolation, and to recruit new workers.
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