Supporting people with cancer in Fife

Cancer services in Fife have been transformed thanks to TCAT and the  introduction of Local Area Co-ordinators, writes TCAT project manager Alison Watt.


Fife has embraced Macmillan Cancer Support’s TCAT programme by hosting three successful projects within health and social care services.

The three projects have worked together to deliver co-ordinated, connected services for people affected by cancer, including carers.

The dedicated partnership working between health, social care, people affected by cancer and third sector organisations has contributed significantly to the transformation of co-ordinated services.

The collaborative working has improved communication, deepened the understanding of services, and most importantly, improved the cancer care pathway for the person affected by cancer.

Fife Council’s Integrated Community Cancer Care (ICCC) TCAT project employed 1.5 Local Area Co-ordinators (LACs) with additional funding.

The LACs visit people affected by cancer at home or within their local community to find out “what matters” to them and to then co-produce an action/care plan to help them achieve their personal outcomes and goals.

The LACs offer a holistic needs self-assessment to help people identify areas of concern and then prioritise and source solutions.

The Holistic Needs Self-Assessment is a valuable person-centred tool that offers people affected by cancer the opportunity to consider their whole situation and wellbeing with the focus on every day concerns, not just medical concerns.

The LACs go on to provide support to help individuals access community supports and then provide follow up contact to progress the action/care plan and help people towards achieving their personal goals.

The LAC role is non-clinical as the project team sits within Fife Social Work Service.

The project has followed the social work ethos to ensure that the service is equal and inclusive.   With that purpose in mind, the project did not just focus on transforming care after treatment but opened the referral routes to anybody affected by cancer, including carers, from age 16 and above, with any cancer type and at any stage in their cancer journey.

The focus on non- clinical concerns compliments and works alongside the medical services that people affected by cancer receive within NHS Fife and the Health and Social Care Partnership.

This focus has helped to remove the dependency on medical and social work services by improving people’s knowledge of where to get support in the community and by providing them with a link person when help is needed.

The LACs specialise in finding solutions within the local community and assisting people to access those community resources.

This helps the person affected by cancer to navigate the complex service landscape and connect with services which is more effective than signposting alone.

From the project evaluation the Local Area Co-ordinator role has been proven to be a valuable asset for people affected by cancer and professionals alike. It was found the roles:

    • Offered time (to both PABC and Professional who referred)
    • Supported navigation
    • Provided a person-centred approach
    • Increased the confidence of the person affected by cancer to move towards self-management and achieving personal outcomes/goals
    • Had expert knowledge of community services