Publish date: 1 June 2023

Volunteers Week thank you.jpgCheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance (CMCA) is thanking the hundreds of volunteers who support people living with and beyond cancer and their loved ones on national Volunteers’ Week.

The 39th Volunteers’ Week (1st-7th June) is a time when thousands of organisations recognise the contribution volunteers make across the country and CMCA would like to echo those thanks – especially with our own volunteers who act as patient representatives.

The contribution of volunteers is often unseen and unrecognised, visible only through the incredible impact of their volunteering, so it is important to take the time during Volunteers’ Week to celebrate their efforts and all they contribute to our local communities, the voluntary sector and society as a whole.

In the cancer environment, volunteers work for charities, support groups and in hospitals. They also support individuals in the community. Our own volunteer patient representatives help CMCA to formulate plans and policies for better services and care across Cheshire and Merseyside; act as people with lived experience who can raise awareness of cancer and screening; and also are members of our Readers’ Panel, which scrutinises the wording of publications for cancer patients.

Rita Doyle - CMCA patient rep.jpg
Rita Doyle

Jenny Brazier, CMCA Patient Engagement Officer, said: “Volunteers do an amazing job. They give their own time for others and share their expertise to improve their communities in so many ways.

“Our patient representatives are vital in helping us to improve services and care for people living through cancer and can be very effective in promoting cancer awareness with the public.

“I would like to join everyone at the cancer alliance in thanking them for the work that they do – and extend that to all volunteers working in cancer right across Cheshire and Merseyside.”

CMCA patient representative, Rita Doyle, who is also on our Readers’ Panel, spoke about why she volunteers. She said: “I was an NHS nurse for 36 years before I became a patient with cancer. I understand the immense pressures that staff are under. It has been such a privilege to become a Patient Representative in the Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance and to now be able to use my professional and personal experience of cancer care to make sure that the needs and voice of the patient are heard.

“I consider a simple question, 'is this what you would want for yourself or someone you loved?' If the answer is 'no, or maybe not', then whatever is proposed should be changed. Real empathy should be at the core of patient centred care and this includes every aspect, from the initial patient appointment letter, through to all aspects of that person’s care. Hearing a ‘patients voice’ improves care overall and can also gently remind our amazing staff why they wanted to work in the NHS in the first place.”