Macmillan appoints first chief nursing officer

02 Jun 2017 News

Karen Roberts, chief of nursing and allied health professionals at Macmillan

Cancer charity Macmillan has appointed Dr Karen Roberts as its first chief of nursing and allied health professionals (AHPs).

The role is a first for the charity, and was created in “recognition of the vital part nurses and AHPs play both in Macmillan’s work and across wider cancer care”.

Dr Karen Roberts joined Macmillan on Monday from Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust where she was a nurse consultant. She was previously a Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist in palliative care and gynaecological oncology.

Macmillan says the move comes against the backdrop of increasing numbers of people being diagnosed with and surviving cancer in the UK. The charity estimates there are 2.5 million living with cancer in the UK, which could rise to 4 million people by 2030.

The appointment also comes at a time when the charity warns that nurses and AHPS are “under increasing levels of stress and are not given the time and space for career development and training”.

In the new role, Roberts will “provide leadership and expertise, representing the perspective of nurses and AHPs, as well as engaging with those working in both professions across the UK”. She will also play a key role in the charity’s work in contributing to the national debate around nursing and AHP roles in cancer care.

On her appointment, Roberts said: “I have been proud to be a Macmillan nurse for many years and I am thrilled to be joining the charity in this new role.

“Increasing numbers of people are surviving cancer, and the role of nurses and AHPs is becoming even more essential to meet their ongoing needs, such as well-being during and after treatment. We need to make sure that nurses and AHPs are well resourced, equipped and confident in facing up to the considerable future challenge cancer poses the health service.”

Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan, said: “Every person diagnosed with cancer should have access to the indispensable support of nurses and AHPs. This means health care professionals must be happy, well supported, and able to make the best use of their skills. Karen will be there to articulate and represent the concerns of nurses and AHPs at the highest level, so that people with cancer receive the best possible care.

“Karen’s impressive and varied expertise in cancer care as a nursing consultant means she is perfectly placed to play a central role in shaping Macmillan’s approach to a wide range of issues affecting cancer patients and the workforce that cares for them.”

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