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Date: 22 February 2020

Time: 03:49

Sophie Phillips, Mesothelioma Clinical Nurse Specialist

Extra help for asbestos cancer patients thanks to new role

Story posted/last updated: 31 January 2020

Patients across the West Midlands with asbestos-related cancer will benefit from a new role which has been created at the Trust.

The region’s first dedicated Mesothelioma Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) has been appointed at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

Sophie Phillips will join Mesothelioma UK’s network of 26 dedicated Clinical Nurse Specialists across the UK who support patients.

It’s been made possible thanks, in part, to a donation from a man in Solihull whose wife died of the disease.

Each of the Mesothelioma UK nurses are based within an NHS hospital and dedicated to providing expert, specialist mesothelioma support, information, treatment and care across the region in which they are based.

Mesothelioma is a cancer related to exposure to asbestos and predominantly affects the lining of the lungs. The UK has the highest incidence of the disease in the world with about 2,700 people diagnosed each year.

Sophie has 15 years’ experience working with cancer patients in pre-diagnosis, treatment and palliative care at QEHB.

During this time, Sophie began attending mesothelioma multi-disciplinary meetings and support groups which increased her interest in helping mesothelioma patients and their families.

She will combine her new role as a Mesothelioma Clinical Nurse Specialist with her existing part-time position as a Macmillan Lung Cancer Nurse Specialist.

This new post has been made possible by a private donation, made by John Blunt from Solihull who lost his wife, Janet, to mesothelioma in 2014. Janet was a GP and after her diagnosis in November 2013, Janet and John approached solicitors to investigate the circumstances of Janet’s exposure to asbestos. The generous private donation to Mesothelioma UK is based on the settlement of this case and will fund Sophie’s role for two full years, split over the first three years of the position.

Mr Blunt said: “I’m so pleased that other families affected by asbestos-related illnesses can now be offered specialist nursing help within the West Midlands, reducing the need for extensive travel.”

MAPS Medical Reporting is a provider of medico-legal expert witness evidence in support of legal claims for injury and disease. The company is also supporting Sophie’s new post with a grant to Mesothelioma UK which will part-fund her first year.

Commenting on her new role, Sophie, who has worked for the Trust for 37 years, added: “I feel that mesothelioma patients often have quite unique questions and need a bit of specialist support and I’m looking forward to providing this in my new role to people in the West Midlands. There are around 60 – 80 people diagnosed with mesothelioma patients in the region each year and I’ll be supporting them with practical help and advice, including informing them about clinical trials for which they may be eligible.”

Head of Services for Mesothelioma UK Liz Darlison said: “We are delighted to welcome Sophie to the team. Her experience and passion for helping those with mesothelioma will be a fantastic support to patients and families in the West Midlands.”

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