Meet the Team: Elspeth

My name is Elspeth Banks. A former secondary school headteacher, I am a patient public involvement (PPI) representative who has been involved in cancer research for many years. While much of my focus is in Glasgow and the West of Scotland, I work with other organisations including Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres, Cancer Research UK, National Cancer Research Institute, and Independent Cancer Patients Voice. My interests are in clinical trials, living with and beyond cancer and in supporting other PPI colleagues as they develop their knowledge and experience.

I remember as if it were yesterday being informed that my cancer was now incurable and advised I should seek help from my local hospice. I was given this devastating news while on my own and I was offered no support, other than a suggestion that I myself should seek help to prepare for end of life.

That was in 2006. This is 2024 and I hope that the great divide between cancer care and palliative care is a thing of the past. Or is it?

I would have welcomed support from a dedicated team, throughout my cancer journey from diagnosis in 1996. Rather than being dismissed as incurable and sent on my way, my needs and those of my family should have been addressed. Feelings of isolation and despair could have been eradicated and instead we would all have experienced a better quality of life.

This integration of cancer care and palliative care is not straightforward and there have been many different attempted approaches. The aim of this project is to gather best practice from across the world in order to determine the methods that have achieved success. These results will in turn offer guidance on how best to help patients and their families benefit from continuity of care.

I am so pleased to be a member of the project team and am one of several patients/carers whose experience and input is both welcomed and valued.

Elspeth Banks

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