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Friday, April 26, 2024

Llan cancer patient pleased nurse post will be funded for another year

* Sarah Marshall.

A Llangollen woman with an incurable form of breast cancer says she is pleased to hear that the post of a nurse specialising in its treatment has been funded for an another year.

Sarah Marshall is one of five women patients from north Wales who have been campaigning for the retention of the metastatic nurse post based at Wrexham Maelor Hospital whose long-term funding had been in doubt.

But confirmation has now been received by llanblogger from the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) that the post will be funded until March 31 next year.  

Sarah has been a cancer patient at Wrexham since 2017 and since 2019 has been treated for metastatic breast cancer, which is incurable.

But for most of that time she hasn’t been too unwell and has managed to do an MSc, run for county councillor, do the Llangollen Round Challenge and choreograph local Operatic Society shows.

She said: “Concerned patients have been meeting with senior BCUHB cancer staff since October 2023 to try and secure the future of a Metastatic Breast Cancer Nurse post at Wrexham, which does not have permanent funding. 

“We are pleased to hear that despite some mixed messages the Trust has now decided to extend the current arrangement until March 2025. 

“The Trust has stated they wanted to conduct ‘a formal evaluation of the service ... this will include feedback provided by patients and their families’ - their words in an email to us from Head of Nursing, Cancer Division 27/3/2024. We hope they will provide details of how patients can contribute to this soon. 

As one of our group put it ‘I've been more worried about the future of the nurse post than I have been about my own cancer’.

“The Trust themselves ‘recognise the benefits this important role has played in supporting patients across the Wrexham area’ – a letter from Carol Shillabeer, BCUHB Chief Exec 7/3/24.

“We really want to secure a permanent future for this post so that we are not in this position of uncertainty in less than a year’s time.

“We would urge any Wrexham patients or carers who want to be involved in our patient led group to improve Metastatic Breast Cancer care to contact Sarah Marshall at” 

In response to a query from llanblogger on behalf of the campaigners, Mandy Jones, Deputy Executive Director of Nursing at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “We are pleased to confirm that funding for the Metastatic Cancer Nurse Specialist position at Wrexham Maelor Hospital has been extended up to the end of the current financial year (31 March 2025).

“This is one of a number of posts being funded on a non-recurrent basis, using temporary funding provided by Welsh Government to support enhanced performance and transformation. Work is ongoing with Welsh Government to understand the impact these funds have had over recent years in order to secure this funding on an ongoing basis beyond 31 March 2025.

“We recognise the benefit this role has had in supporting patients across the Wrexham area and we are sorry for any concern this issue has caused in recent months. I can assure you that we remain fully committed to providing standards of cancer care in line with national guidance and best practice.”

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