Making an impact in Wales

In April 2017, Mesothelioma UK appointed a Clinical Nurse Specialist for Wales. Sarah Morgan became the 13th nurse to join the team and has made a big difference to mesothelioma patients in Wales.

Sarah works with colleagues across Wales to ensure that patients have access to specialist support and information, and to raise awareness of mesothelioma.

Sarah also promotes awareness about the options available for mesothelioma patients by supporting, signposting and disseminating information, leading and generally offering appropriate clinical support.

Sarah has been a nurse for over 30 years, originally training as a District Nurse and achieving her specialist practitioner qualification, then qualifying and working as a Specialist Palliative Care Nurse before becoming the first Lung Cancer Nurse Specialist in Hywel dda University Health Board and setting up the service in 2008.

Sarah is a very active member of local and national strategic forums for development in lung cancer and mesothelioma throughout the Welsh Cancer Network, having been chair of the All Wales Lung Cancer Forum (AWLCF) and presenting at the Welsh Thoracic Oncology Group (WTOG) & Welsh Pleural Interest Group (WPIG) and presenting at national and international professional conferences and meetings.

Sarah works as a Macmillan Lung Cancer Nurse Specialist for HDUHB in addition to her role as mesothelioma UK CNS for Wales and is a founder member of the local charity: Lung Cancer Campaign with aims to promote early diagnosis and improve services.

Commenting on her role, Sarah said: “The opportunity to work as a Mesothelioma CNS in Wales is a great privilege. As the only Mesothelioma UK nurse in Wales, I am committed to raising the profile of mesothelioma and influencing the development of specialist services across Wales.”

Sarah has made great progress in raising the profile of mesothelioma in Wales and in 2018 organised an event with Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services for the Welsh Government, as keynote speaker. The event put mesothelioma in the spotlight and raised £1,500 for Mesothelioma UK.

Sarah has forged strong links with local industrial disease lawyers such as J.M Parsons & Co, Thomson’s Solicitors, who support Mesothelioma UK with fundraising efforts, and Hugh James solicitors who sponsored a highly successful national educational conference organised with Sarah for clinicians and professionals across Wales.

Working closely with the Welsh charity Asbestos Awareness Support Cymru (AASC) to improve patient support and information, Sarah together with AASC organised two very successful national events for patients and family this year.  Action Mesothelioma Day was held in July and the first Annual Wales Patient and Carer Support Day in October.

As a committee member on the Cross Party Group of the Welsh Assembly Government on Asbestos, Sarah has been lobbying for mesothelioma patients to have greater access to trials in Wales.  Following her presentations to the group raising the issue of inequity of access to trials for Meso patient across Wales, Dawn BOWDEN, Assembly Member (AM) for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney asked a question in the house calling for greater support and commitment from the WAG for access to trials for patients in Wales.

Sarah has also been successful in brining a new trial, ASSESS-Meso to West Wales and is the first Specialist Nurse to be a Principle Investigator of a research trial in Wales.

Sarah is particularly keen to establish an All Wales Mesothelioma Interest Group (WMIG) to ensure successful partnership working with healthcare professionals, support groups, and other agencies, working with mesothelioma patients and families for the development of appropriate services for all mesothelioma patients across Wales. Through her efforts to raise awareness of the needs of mesothelioma patient Sarah has gained much support for this project and this work will be a priority for 2019.