A year on … the Improving Cancer Journey Service is making a difference to people living in Fife

A ground-breaking new service which ensures cancer patients in Fife are offered emotional, practical and financial support has reached an important milestone. In the last 12 months over 600 people have now had their concerns addressed by the Fife Macmillan Improving the Cancer Journey service, a joint partnership between the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The good news is that, with advances in treatment, more people than ever are surviving and people who are living with cancer are often living longer. We know that the impact of cancer does not suddenly stop when the treatment is over. People often have to deal with the long-term effects of treatment or other health conditions that can have a huge impact on health, wellbeing and independence. Many of them often don’t know where to go for help coping with the impact it can have on their lives beyond the physical effects. This is where the Fife Macmillan Improving the Cancer Journey Service (ICJ) is making a difference.

The ICJ link workers provide a person-centred approach and discuss “what matters” to the person.

Julie Paterson, Divisional General Manager (Fife-wide), Fife Health & Social Care Partnership said: “This is an extremely valuable service for those in Fife living with cancer. Everyone deals with cancer differently and we want to make sure that those impacted by cnacer are aware of the service and how we can continue to support them to live as well as possible.”

Pamela Harrower from Blairhall was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2018

The news came as a complete shock. I had no symptoms and was the healthiest I had felt in a while. My medical team were fantastic and during treatment I was so focused on getting through it that I didn’t have time to think about anything else. However, once treatment finished I felt I needed even more support. Thankfully I had received information about the Improving Cancer Journey and gave the team a call. 

“My link worker Sharon Breeze talked through everything with me which was such a relief. It felt like the first time I had properly talked about it all. She broke down all our concerns and addressed each of them, from money worries to fitness and my mental health”.

Scottish Government and Macmillan Cancer Support announced joint funding of £18m to enable everyone diagnosed with cancer in Scotland to have access to a dedicated support worker through the Transforming Cancer Care programme.

Pamela Harrower and Sharon Breeze were invited along to the announcement delivered by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Health Minister Jeanne Freeman to share their experiences.

To find out more about how the Improving the Cancer Journey can help, call the service on 01592 578076 or email

Additional information:
Improving Cancer Journey website


Director of Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership appointed

Nicky Connor has been appointed as the Director of Health and Social Care in Fife.

Nicky brings with her a wealth of knowledge with over 20 years’ experience covering a diversity of public service roles including nursing, acute, specialist and community roles along with professional and clinical leadership to services within Fife’s communities and leading on regional and national work.

Chair of the Partnership’s Integration Joint Board (IJB), Cllr Rosemary Liewald said:
“Following a rigorous recruitment process, I am really pleased that Nicky has been successful in this appointment to the permanent role, having previously been doing the interim role for the past few months. The seamless transfer of leadership will ensure the Partnership remains focused on delivering the strategic priorities and vision for the people of Fife.”

Tricia Marwick, Chair of NHS Fife Board added:
“We are delighted to have appointed Nicky to the post of director of health and social care in Fife. Nicky has worked with Fife Health and Social Care Partnership since it was established and has been instrumental in driving forward a wide range of initiatives.”

Paul Hawkins, Chief Executive of NHS Fife commented:
“Developing a partnership approach to health and social care is a key priority and I’m delighted that Nicky has been appointed to the role to continue the great work that has been achieved. Having a strong understanding of the priorities for Fife, I’m sure Nicky will continue to steer the partnership in leading the way in Fife.”

Steve Grimmond, Chief Executive of Fife Council also added:
“I’m pleased that we have been able to appoint Nicky to the post of Director. The experience, knowledge and positive commitment that Nicky brings will ensure that the Partnership continues to focus on delivering the best health and social care services for Fife.”

On her successful appointment, Nicky added: “I am delighted to take up the role as director of Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership. I see daily the exceptional staff we have, delivering high quality services to thousands of Fifers every day. I’m looking forward to leading the Partnership to continue to deliver and improve on the services and vision for Fife.”


Out of hours urgent care – let’s talk before you walk

In 2016, Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership began a review of how we provide out of hours urgent care in Fife, developing a system that would ensure safe, effective and sustainable services across Fife.

Following two years of analysing data, developing services and consulting and engaging with staff, communities, community groups and organisations, the Integration Joint Board agreed a new model of care at their meeting in June 2019.

What do we mean by out of hours urgent care?
This is care that is provided when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed. This might be for chest infections, urinary tract infections, district nurse care for someone receiving palliative care at home, a child with a high temperature that is not reducing with the medicines you have at home or a minor injury.

What’s changing?
From 4 November 2019, we will begin to implement a more flexible, integrated and multi-disciplinary team approach, working from three centres and supported by home visits.

How to access urgent care out of hours
To ensure everyone gets seen by the right person and in the right place, please talk before you walk and call NHS 24 (111 – free number) first. There are a few ways you will be supported depending on your needs:

  • an advice call from a GP, nurse or paramedic
  • an appointment at a centre with a GP, nurse or paramedic
  • receive a home visit from a GP, nurse, paramedic or district nurse.

Dr Helen Hellewell, Associate Medical Director said, “We have worked closely with healthcare professionals, staff and our communities and I believe we have developed a model of care that puts safety front and centre, and that it is sustainable now and in the future for the whole of Fife. Calling 111 first, before travelling to one of the centres, will ensure you are seen by the right person and in the right place.”

Nicky Connor, Director of Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership thanked staff and community representatives noting, “I want to thank staff and the public for their patience. Working together with colleagues and communities to design this service together has been key to developing new rotas and ways of working so that Fife has a flexible, safe and responsive service. Our new model will ensure that we can continue to see people in the right place, at the right time and by the right professionals.”

Are you healthy and active? Falls Awareness Week 23-29 September 2019

Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, NHS Fife, Fife Council, Fife Voluntary Action and the Scottish Fire Service will be out and about in community venues this Falls Awareness Week 

By getting or staying healthy and active we can all reduce our risk of falls. Dr John Kennedy and Dr Sue Pound are the leads in healthy ageing for NHS Fife and Health and Social Care Partnership and want to encourage people of all ages to do regular physical activity to increase balance, strength, and flexibility. Sue and John note that “People often think that falls are an inevitable part of ageing; you can reduce that risk by adding some strength and balance exercises into your daily routine – at all ages!”

There are also simple changes we can make in our homes to remove falls risks. Think about your lighting, where you keep things and removing clutter. Smartlife Fife is a great on-line self assessment tool to help people age well. If you have had a fall or are feeling unstable, don’t wait, discuss this with a health or social care professional, get your vision checked, have your pharmacist review your medications or drop in at a ‘Well’ to discuss your concerns. 

New Interim Director of Health & Social Care appointed

Nicky Connor has been appointed as the Interim Director of Health and Social Care, for the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership. 

Nicky Conner

Fife has led the way in developing a partnership approach to health and social care services. This interim role is to enable a seamless transfer of leadership to ensure that the Partnership remains focused on delivering its strategic vision, mission and outcomes for the people of Fife whilst a new Director is appointed. 

Nicky is currently the partnership’s Associate Director of Nursing (Fife wide) and brings to the interim post over 20 years’ experience as a nurse covering a diversity of acute, specialist and community roles.  

Nicky succeeds Michael Kellet, who has stepped down, after three years as Director of Health and Social Care to take up a new role at the Scottish Government. 

Chair of the Partnership’s Integration Joint Board (IJB), Cllr Rosemary Liewald welcomed the news stating:   

“Following a rigorous internal recruitment process, we are delighted to have appointed Nicky to the post of Interim director of health and social care in Fife. Nicky has worked with Fife Health and Social Care Partnership since it was established and has been instrumental in driving forward a wide range of initiatives.

“Her interim appointment will help to ensure that the Partnership remains focused on delivering its strategic vision, mission and outcomes for the people of Fife whilst a new Director is appointed.”

Working together with partners to support carers

Fife has a rich heritage of working with voluntary organisations and charities. Fife’s carers benefit from a wide range of professional carer organisations supporting them.  The Health & Social Care Partnership is proud to work with these voluntary organisations who make a massive contribution to supporting carers across the Kingdom, for example, Fife Carers Centre.

Mhairi Lochhead, Manager at Fife Carers Centre said, “We are really pleased to be part of the events and celebrations to recognise carers this week. However, we know that being a carer is not just for this week and for some carers it’s something they do all day, every day.  Fife Carers Centre is here to help.

We have been offering support to unpaid carers for nearly 25 years. During that time we have seen the number of carers increase, and the challenged the face become ever more complex.  It’s for that reason that the support we offer, right across Fife, has developed to include some quite specialist elements.  As well as the general information, advice, guidance and support we offer free of charge across all of Fife’s local areas, we also offer independent advocacy support, specialist help for carers of people with dementia, support to give carers a voice at Victoria and Queen Margaret Hospitals and an outreach support service for carers from diverse ethnicities and cultures, such as the traveller population.

We work closely in partnership with the other carer organisations in Fife including Fife Young Carers to ensure carers’ best interests are severed. I encourage any carer who needs some support to get in touch when the time is right for them.  Visit our web-site,, call us on 01592 205472 or visit us at our office on Commercial Street, Kirkcaldy.”

In addition to the Fife Carers Centre, Citizen’s Advice and Rights Fife have recently launched a financial well-being and income maximization support specifically for carers. This new service complements the wide range of support CARF previously offered.

Respite Fife, Crossroads Fife and Homelands all offer support to carers to take short breaks from their caring routines, giving carers much needed time for themselves, to recharge and live well alongside their caring role.

Our partners are supported by Fife Voluntary Action who represent a much wider set of charities and voluntary organisations across Fife. More information about each of these partners is available by linking from the Fife Health & Social Care Partnership’s web-site,

Carers – new Income Maximisation Support launched

Carers are often at a financial disadvantage because of their caring situation. They may not be able to take up work, or only be able to work part-time.  They may not be receiving the benefits to which they are entitled or may be which the person they care for is entitled.  This is the reason we have teamed up with Citizen’s Advice and Rights Fife (CARF) to launch our new Income Maximisation Support for Carers.

CARF are specialists in offering personalised support to help people maximise the access to their rights. This independent support for carers helps them to ensure they receive all the benefits they may be entitled to, and if necessary, to support and advocate on their behalf to appeal decisions which they feel are incorrect.  The service can also help carers to understand the financial benefits of taking paid work and can work with carers to developed a personalized ‘better off calculation’.  This support is free, and available for anyone who defines themselves as a carer.  The service supports carers in their experience as a carer and is in addition to other supports available to carers through other partners.

Our short video tells you how the support can work for you.  Click here.

Picture of a video screen

David Redpath, Business Development Manager with Citizen’s Advice and Rights Fife said, “We are delighted to be able to offer support to Fife’s carers. Our work with unpaid carers has shown us that sometimes they are challenged by the welfare benefits system and the additional costs that caring for someone can bring.  This partnership between CARF and Fife’s Health & Social Care Partnership, means we can increase the offer of specialist support to carers who need it.  We are confident that, with our support, many carers will get those benefits they are rightly entitled to, feel more valued and be financially better off.

Visit or for more information about the advice and support available for carers.

Carers – what more can we do to support you?

Carers week provides us with the opportunity to check with carers what more we can do to support them.

Carers have reported that they have an increase in the intensity of the care they provide. 20% of carers are over 65 years young.  The majority are working age and hold down a job and other family commitments while also providing care.  One in 10 carers in Fife are not able to take part in work due to their caring responsibilities.  And we know that carers are more likely than average to have their own health conditions.

Over the last year we have made some significant improvements in how we support carers and what support is available. We know we can do more.  We commit to doing more and continuing to make a positive investment to support carers.

This carers week gives us the idea opportunity to take stock and reflect on what we have done and what more we need to do. We are aware that we are not reaching every carer but why this is the case is less clear.  We also know that not everyone who provides unpaid carer wants to have the label of ‘carer’.

Michael Kellet, Director of Health and Social Care said, “Since the Carers Act was introduced in April 2018 we have made investments in a range of new supports for carers. This new investment was designed to support carers to help themselves.  We understand that most carers will not want direct help, but some need guidance and support to access the right sources of support for themselves.  This journey started last year with new advocacy support for all carers and additional support for carers at Fife’s two main hospitals, both free at the point of access.  This year we continue with that support and add new free support available to all carers across Fife.  During this Carers Week we are launching our income maximisation support for carers, befriending support for young carers and a new digital resource in partnership with Carers Scotland.  And we have launched our new carers’ web-site with a wide range of information and guidance available to all carers.

We know we can do more and in the coming years we hope to be able to enhance the current offer as we continue our journey to support the many fantastic carers in Fife. We’ve had to make some tough choices but our investment is strongly influenced by carers.  Their voice is important and it’s for that reason that today we are launching our carers experience survey.  Carers are the best people to tell us what we need to improve.  I encourage all carers in Fife to take part, tell us what works well and what we could do differently or better.  We will use this to shape the support we make available over time.

This short survey gives carers a real voice and a chance to influence change. This survey asks carers to tell us their story, what the impact of caring has been for them, what works well, and what we could do to support them better.  Visit the new the Health and Social Care carer website to share your opinions.

Getting it right for young carers – there’s lots of support available

Our young carers (up to the age of 18 years) and our young adult carers (up to 25 years) contribute a huge amount to our local communities. There are estimated to be over 6000 young carers in Fife as highlighted during a recent education pupilwise survey (2017/18). Some of our most hidden young carers are providing high levels of care as well as trying to study for school and/or work.

To raise awareness of young carers and adult young carers across services, Fife Young Carer’s has launched ‘join our chain’.  This information video focuses on keeping young carers connected, which is one of the main drivers of Getting it right for Young Carers in Fife Strategy (2018 – 2021).  Please visit for more information or follow Fife Young Carers on social media.

Getting it right for young carers in Fife Strategy was launched in October 2018. During carers week we will link in with young carers across Fife to gain their views about support available and if the strategy is having an impact. It is also an opportunity to remind young carers about new service developments available to them. Hospital discharge service for carers, joint advocacy service and befriending service to support young carers to get a break from their caring role. This will be done via online survey in schools and via Fife Young Carers.  If you are a young carer school young carer champion in school for more information.

Authorisation cards are available to all young carers in Fife. This is an identity card that helps them to access information and support. The card has two uses, one to help young people get support in school and the other to show that the person they care for has given consent to share medical information with the young person. This allows social workers, nurses, doctors and other health staff to have discussions with young carers about the person they look after and helps teachers understand their situation. Please visit carers for more information.

The time for me! Fund is another great source of support to young carers. Fife Council has developed this fund to improve the range of opportunities for young carers to have a break from their caring responsibilities.  The fund can be used to help children and young people access activities that are important to them.  While we should not automatically assume that caring for others is a negative experience we must recognise that it can restrict young peoples’ lives, and limit their experiences and opportunities as they grow up. Please visit carers for more information

When speaking to young carers about their own needs, over half of the consultation group discussed their emotional wellbeing and this was highlighted as being most important. A new befriending service has been developed to support young carers with their mental health. Part of this service is to provide support to young carers, specifically during the summer break when they feel most isolated. It also helps young carers balance more time for themselves by helping them to access activities that are important to them. Please visit for details of this new service. For general advice on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing please visit

Supporting the 35,000 carers in Fife

This week we celebrate the magnificent role that unpaid carers play in our society. Unpaid carers play a major role in Fife.  One in every three people will be a carer at some time in their life.  Fife has more than 35,000 adult carers, that’s 10% of Fife’s entire population.  And nearly half of them spend over 20 hours a week caring for someone else.

We all need help from time to time. Carers are no different.  Fife’s Health & Social Care Partnership has invested in new sources of support to help carers live a happy and fulfilled life alongside their caring role.  Central to this is the offer to create an individual Adult Carer Support Plan with carers.

Morna Fleming, the Carers’ Representative on the Health & Social Care Partnership Board and a former carer herself said, “I know from personal experience the significant commitment that carers give to support loved ones, family members and other members of their local community. Carers play an important role in Fife and have for a long time gone that extra mile to lend a hand.  But sometimes carers need a bit of support themselves.  Carers week provides us with a really good opportunity to raise general awareness of carers, to celebrate their hard work, and to support them.  As the carers’ representative on the Health & Social Care Partnership Board I know that carers voices needs to be heard.  With well over 35,000 Fifers identifying themselves as a carer, and at least the same number again who are providing care but do not identify themselves as a carer, Carers Week gives us the change to raise the profile, invite carers to come forward if they need some support, and thank all carers for their important contribution”.

For more information about the support that is available for carers in Fife visit the new the Health and Social Care carer website.