Cancer care – incorporating mind and body

A new psychology service at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will provide mental health support for patients with cancer and is looking for staff to launch. Dr Jane Hutton and Irina Belun-Vieira blog.

Irina and JaneEvery year two thousand people receive a new cancer diagnosis at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Depending on the type of cancer, their care could be managed by any of twenty medical teams.

Receiving this news is a major life-changing event and renders the future complicated and uncertain. Patients, along with their friends and family, may begin on any number of short or much longer-term care pathways.

In our intense focus on treating the physical symptoms and healing or alleviating the body’s suffering we can often neglect the impact on mental health. A cancer diagnosis can be a bewildering, testing, anxious time
where the mind becomes just as important as the body.

But until now, psychology and psychotherapy resources to support patients, their families and the teams caring for them have been very limited.

Our patients have always had the ability to access the support and resources of the Dimbleby Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. But our experience is that despite the offer they rarely do - perhaps because of the geographic separation from their medical care.

It is within this context that we are very excited to be setting up a new psychology service for people with cancer at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support.

The remit of the service will be wide-ranging. One aspect will be providing timely access to specialist assessment and therapy to patients with particular psychological needs related to their cancer.

Another will be developing and publicising smooth referral pathways not just within the hospital, but out into the community.

And we’re looking to form a new team who recognise the significant benefit this service will make to the everyday lives of those living with cancer to join us for the launch.

If you are an enthusiastic and thoughtful psychologist or psychotherapist, with a passion for working in teams and with people living with physical health challenges, we would love to hear from you. We would also love to hear from you if you would like to think together about how the new service can link with your team.

You can apply today to help set up the team as a Macmillan Lead Psychologist or Psychologist.

As a European Comprehensive Cancer Centre, the King's Health Partners Cancer Clinical Academic Group brings together world-class clinical services, research and education for the benefit of cancer patients in south east London and beyond.