Raising awareness of the NHS staffing crisis with Macmillan


Macmillan Cancer Support



 Highlighting the crucial role of Macmillan during the NHS staffing crisis.

A survey of people living with cancer by Macmillan Cancer Support suggested that their physical and mental health is being negatively impacted by current pressures on the NHS workforce.
According to the survey, nearly seven in ten (68%) people recently diagnosed with or treated for cancer said they are not getting all the support they need with issues related to the disease.

Coverage in key media including BBC News, Evening Standard & on Lorraine

As the gap between the number of people with cancer and the support available to them grows, so does the demand on Macmillan’s services. Macmillan therefore launched its #SaveOurSupport campaign, aimed at raising donations to help its services be there for more people affected by cancer, and calling on governments across the UK to urgently address the staffing crisis facing the NHS and social care.
We were brought on board to help bring the experience of people living with cancer and missing out on support during this crisis to life.

We analysed the government’s Cancer Patient Experience Survey to find specific examples of the information and support gaps left by the critical shortage of specialist NHS cancer staff. We found that: around 76,000 people a year did not have the possible side-effects of treatment fully explained before starting treatment; around 25,000 weren’t allocated a Clinical Nurse Specialist who would support them through treatment; and around 61,000 didn’t receive, but would have liked information about financial support available.

We then worked with singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, whose step-father and grandparents have been affected by cancer, and celebrity photographer Nicky Johnston, on a portrait series basing striking imagery – featuring people with cancer – on the statistics. The series features pairs of images representing the support gaps left by the NHS staffing crisis and where Macmillan helps plug those gaps. In one image, Macmillan is there to support the individual; in the other, they are out of the picture, as without funding, Macmillan cannot continue to be there to support people with cancer.

The images, accompanied by the supporting news story on the statistics, were used to drive coverage across print, digital, broadcast and social media to raise awareness of the crisis in NHS cancer staffing and drive donations to Macmillan.

The campaign was covered by 7 national newspapers/news sites including MailOnline, The I online, BBC News online, ITV News online as well as securing Evening Standard Best Pictures of the Day. We secured an interview slot for Sophie Ellis-Bextor on ITVs Lorraine, where the images were shown on the screen in the studio. Our news story featured on the morning news bulletins across BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live as well as across a further 30+ regional BBC radio stations. Coverage also ran across regional newspapers/websites and consumer websites to further amplify reach.

This was a 

Project for Macmillan Cancer Support

Learn more about Consumer PR

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