BCNA's Helpline refocus - some changes being made to the Helpline
BCNA's Helpline refocus
I received this email last night and assume that all members received it - but just in case some haven't received it, I'll put it here for everyone to read and comment on, if you like .....
I am a little perplexed that a couple of valuable assets to our members will be removed from the Helpline & Counselling Services - specifically the Cancer Nurse on the Help line & the Metastatic Breast Cancer Counselling Services. I really think the members should have been canvassed (by way of a poll) to determine their feelings on the matter - as they are the ones who will be affected by it.
I believe that both of these services are a vital part of the BCNA support for it's members - and that members would feel much more comfortable in ringing 'our' helpline than being referred to the Cancer Council or McGrath Foundation - particularly those with a recent Mets diagnosis.
What do you think?
In order to be best positioned to deliver on the vision outlined in our Strategic Plan, BCNA went through an organisational redesign in March 2021. As part of this process, we have been consulting with our BCNA Helpline team in recent months about a new team structure which repositions the Helpline at the centre of our member support services.
During the consultation period, we spoke to a small group of consumer representatives to get their insight and feedback on the proposed changes and how they impact people with breast cancer who contact us for information and support through the Helpline. We shared with them that a recent review identified an important new role for our Helpline team in delivering a broader set of information and navigational services, built on the knowledge gained from speaking to our network on the phone.
The review also identified that by having a cancer nurse on the Helpline, we were duplicating services provided by other organisations, including McGrath Foundation and Cancer Council. As a result, we will no longer have cancer nurses available on the BCNA Helpline but will instead refer and support callers in connecting to a breast care nurse or obtaining advice and information from health professionals available via Cancer Council's 13 11 20 information and support service.
Our existing Helpline team will broaden their focus by becoming Member Support Officers. They will focus on ensuring the BCNA Helpline remains the number one place to contact if you have questions and issues about breast cancer, while also individually specialising in one of our key member functions - supporting access to My Journey, My Care Kit program, health professional onboarding and BCNA Online Network.
We have worked closely with McGrath Foundation, Cancer Council, and other partners in recent weeks to ensure that we can seamlessly refer BCNA callers to a health professional when required. As you may know, working collaboratively with our partners in the sector has become an important part of how we work, with the wellbeing of people with breast cancer our number one, shared concern.
As part of these changes, BCNA will also no longer offer Metastatic Breast Cancer Counselling Services and will now refer people to the appropriate counselling service option depending on their needs and requirements. Our engagement with BCNA’s Metastatic Breast Cancer Advisory Group will provide a regular mechanism to discuss and review any impacts identified and help ensure appropriate solutions are considered.
I am sure you may have some views you would like to put forward on these changes, which will come into effect in mid-July. The consumer representatives we have spoken to so far have been open in their feedback which has been positive, agreeing that the changes are both logical and will reduce some confusing duplication for people with breast cancer.
However, we are determined to work closely with our network and members to make sure the refocus works for you, and we will continuously evaluate the impact of the new arrangements. Please contact us with any queries or suggestions on
1800 500 258 or email [email protected]
I am confident that the new arrangements will help to strengthen and expand the central role BCNA plays in providing compassionate and practical support, information, and resources for everyone affected by breast cancer.
We have always been proud of our ability to help people navigate their way to everything from peer support to advice to knowledge, and our suite of support resources is now in great shape to fulfil many of those needs. My Journey, for instance, is now well-utilised as an app, with tailored and curated information to your particular breast cancer type. The Symptom Tracker is a highly valued tool and is a new feature and an example that helps members track short and long term side effects and inform consultation with your treatment teams.
Webcasts, podcasts, and direct email to BCNA have all become popular and important channels for members to communicate with us and each other, and health professionals are also fully engaged through our health professional onboarding program.
Our Helpline team - now the Member Support team - will be fully involved in every aspect of supporting and developing these resources, to ensure they are consistently responsive to people’s needs and help people with breast cancer to explore, understand and share their journey.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me or your preferred BCNA contact to discuss the Helpline changes.