ONE of the country’s leading cancer charities has announced a huge investment in the district as it looks to improve services to people in Northumberland.

Macmillan Cancer Support has dedicated more than £260,000 to the recruitment of two Macmillan specialist palliative care nurses to help bring support closer to local communities.

The nurses are based at Dene Park House in Hexham, but will work throughout Northumberland.

The charity worked in partnership with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to identify issues with palliative care in the county.

They found the Northumberland’s rural nature makes it difficult for people with terminal cancer to access the support they need within their own communities.

Macmillan and Northumbria Healthcare felt that this was having a detrimental effect on the quality of care local people were receiving at the end of their lives.

It is hoped the investment will improve this end-of-life care.

Northumberland faces unusual challenges in this area, with 97 per cent of the county classed as rural.

This can impact on the quality of cancer care and support an individual receives at the end of their life.

One of the palliative care nurses brought to the area is Catherine Fisher.

She explained the new role these nurses play in the care of cancer suffers.

Catherine said: “The roles support people to make informed decisions so that they die in the place and in the way they have chosen

“I work with the team based at Hexham General Hospital to address the individual’s needs and ensure our care is coordinated.

“Additionally we provide support for carers with things like emotional and financial issues; taking away added stress, at an already difficult time.”

Figures show that one in two people will face a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.

Macmillan estimate that more than 2,000 people in Northumberland are diagnosed with cancer every year, while 1,000 people die from the condition.

The investment into the area is part of the charity’s aim to ensure everyone approaching the end of their lives to receive the care they need, whilst being comfortable and having their pain controlled.

The charity supports patients to make informed decisions and ensure coordinated care, as well as supporting carers.