How Meso UK collaborates with support group

Clininical Nurse Specialist, Carolyn McCrae, recently contributed this article to Action on Asbestos support group’s newsletter, highlighting how Meso UK collaborates with the group…

My name is Carolyn MacRae and I am one of the Mesothelioma UK Clinical Nurse Specialists in Scotland. My role sits within the Glasgow Pleural Disease Unit, based at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) and I provide support to patients, carers, health care professionals and charity partners across the West of Scotland.

The QEUH is the central hub for the Macmillan Scottish Mesothelioma Network. The Network is a specialist team of experts who can provide patients across Scotland with high quality clinical care, information, support and access to potentially life-changing clinical trials. There are now teams based in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee and Inverness.

Due to the historic widespread use of asbestos in the area, most notably in the shipbuilding industry along the Clyde estuary and in heavy industry, the west of Scotland currently has amongst the highest incidence of mesothelioma in the world with around 100 people diagnosed per year.

Acting as a key worker, I can offer a dedicated resource for patients affected by mesothelioma and their loved ones. I am able to provide time to listen, care and support, and can offer information and education about the condition and on any new research or treatments.

I’m lucky to have close working relationship with the asbestos charities. Most recently, in collaboration with Action on Asbestos, plans have been put in place to restart support groups for people with asbestos-related conditions as soon as possible with the addition of a Mesothelioma UK Clinical Nurse Specialist attending some of these sessions. We hope that by doing this, we can offer patients with mesothelioma more clinical information and education about their condition. I am hoping to join groups across the west of Scotland and look forward to meeting and interacting with patients there soon.

Nurse specialists have the potential to transform care for those affected by mesothelioma. There are currently five Mesothelioma UK Clinical Nurse Specialists in Scotland and with help from Action on Asbestos, Mesothelioma UK are establishing an additional nurse based in Edinburgh. In the near future, Action on Asbestos and Mesothelioma UK are also partnering to develop a clinical nurse specialist team leader to help drive forward mesothelioma care and practice.

It is wonderful to see how the Scottish Network of expertise continues to develop and grow. Hopefully together, we can support more patients throughout their journey and help champion research in to better treatments, practice and ultimately, better outcomes.