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Cancer carers need more health training

Around 240,000 carers looking after a person with cancer are responsible for undertaking vital healthcare tasks, including controlling pain, giving injections and managing catheters, a leading cancer charity has revealed. 

A YouGov survey from Macmillan Cancer Support has shown more than half 53% of the carers in the UK are performing healthcare tasks without information, instruction or training from a health professional. 

Many carers who didn't receive any training said this left them feeling distressed (63%) and half said it left them feeling frightened (50%). 

One in five cancer carers (21%) who received training or information said it was not enough. 

The charity is calling for the Care Bill legislation to be changed to ensure the NHS in England gives cancer carers more support. 

Chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, Ciarán Devane, said: “It's nonsensical for there to be a legal duty solely on local authorities to identify and support cancer carers when it's actually the health service that have the most contact with them. 

“The Care Bill legislation must be amended to ensure the NHS in England has a responsibility to work with local authorities to identify and signpost cancer carers to appropriate services. This cannot wait. As the number of people diagnosed with cancer doubles in the next twenty years2, there will also be a surge in the number of people caring for them.”

Macmillan surveyed 2,004 carers and expanded the results to fit the full 1.1 million carers for people with cancer in the UK.