by Ana Catarina da Fonseca, Cend tt
The Cancer Support Group is launching a senior section to enable it to provide more emotional and practical assistance to pensioners.
Roy Edwards, President of the Group, spoke to Commission en direct.
Why did the Cancer Support Group feel the need to create a senior section?
In the course of the last eight years, more and more retired staff have turned to the Cancer Support Group for help. If you are still working, you have your infrastructure – your computer, telephone, and colleagues. But it’s different when you are all alone at home – you need more help. So we had the idea of creating a senior branch, and it has already proved its usefulness. We have heard from a number of pensioners, some with really tragic cases.
What will this section do?
We can help pensioners by making appointments with clinics and specialists. We can take them, stay with them, and arrange all the administrative procedures with the PMO. We will provide the same kind of support as for active staff, except that in this case it is even more needed. Some pensioners have no idea what to do. We had one lady who did not even know she would be reimbursed for the medical costs.
What practical and administrative support does the Group offer?
We go to the PMO to arrange the direct billing, which means the hospital sends the bills directly to the PMO without going via the patient. We also help to draft letters requesting that the illness be recognised as ‘serious’, so that patients can be reimbursed 100% – and not 85%. The good contacts we have in the clinics are our strength. Thanks to them, I was able to get an appointment with a specialist in a record 2.5 hours for a lady with breast cancer. Her case was dealt with very efficiently.
Has the section been officially launched?
It is already working in the sense that pensioners call us already, but it is not yet official. We are still putting it in place, working with the AIACE (Association internationale des anciens de l’Union européenne). We have drawn up a list of potential volunteers among the pensioners. Last year, Cancer Support dealt with some 200 interventions and 30 hospitalisations. As we are a small group of volunteers, we would like to get help from what I call the ‘young pensioners’ – people in their sixties who are still very active.
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