The Macmillan Joining the Dots service will officially launch on Thursday 24 January 2019.

The brand new service will help to improve the quality of life of people in County Durham affected by cancer, including their family, carers and friends.

Joining the Dots facilitators will be allocated to people based on where they live rather than where they are being treated, or the type of cancer that they have, placing the individual at the centre and in control of their own support. People will have facilitated access to support with non-clinical needs such as finance, work, practical issues and emotional support from a single point of access.

Almost one in two people will get cancer in their lifetime, approximately 3000 people in County Durham receive a diagnosis each year (Cancer HEA, 2017). Advances in treatment and improved survival rates mean that people with cancer are living longer and may experience similar illness patterns as those with other long-term conditions. Ultimately, this means that there are, and will continue to be, more people living with and beyond cancer in County Durham than ever before.

Cancer not only affects those living with or beyond the disease, but also on their family, carers and friends. The consequences of surviving the disease, and the often gruelling treatment regime, can impact on an individual’s physical condition, but also on their psychological, financial and social functioning. Returning to “normality” is often fraught with difficulties and support is very often required outside of the medical treatment process. Macmillan Cancer Support identified that many people living with and beyond cancer have a number of unmet needs.

It was with these unmet needs in mind that Macmillan Cancer Support invested £1 million into its strategic partnership with Durham County Council to ensure that people in County Durham are able to have their needs identified and met. Since the service’s soft launch in September, 70 people affected by cancer have been referred or have self-referred into the Macmillan Joining the Dots service.

More information on the service can be found at


Kirsty Wilkinson

Public Health Advanced Practitioner (Staying Well)

21 January 2019