Macmillan Counselling Service

Macmillan Cancer Support

macmillan logoThis is a new post funded by Macmillan Cancer Support with counselling services delivered by Sunderland Counselling Services.

The part time post is funded for five years and will offer counselling to individuals who have been diagnosed with any form of cancer or are at any stage of treatment for cancer. Counselling enables the client to explore how their current problems are affecting them and what issues may need to be addressed.


  • To improve mental health and emotional wellbeing for adults with cancer and their carers
  • To reduce mental and emotional distress experienced by clients
  • To increase acceptance of illness by the client
  • To increase the range of coping strategies available to the client
  • To increase the level of support available to clients
  • To increase the accessibility and timeliness of services
  • To ensure clients receive appropriate services


  • Client identified for counselling by Macmillan Staff @ Macmillan Information and Support Unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital and Sunderland Hospital staff.
  • Client referred via self referrals, Clinical Specialist nurses, Macmillan staff and volunteers, Palliative Care Social work team, G.P.s and other Primary Care staff, Consultants and Specialists, Health and Social care professionals.
  • Referrals are made by the Macmillan Information and Support centre Manager direct to Sunderland Counselling Services Administrative staff at the office base.  All referrals to be made with client’s knowledge and explicit consent.

Response times by Macmillan counsellor

  • Cancer patients to be given priority over families and carers
  • Cancer patients to be seen for assessment within TWO WEEKS of referral
  • Family carers to be seen for assessment within FOUR WEEKS of referral


  • Counselling is carried out in a counselling room at the Macmillan Information and Support Centre, Sunderland Royal Hospital
  • Each client is offered six counselling sessions in total.  Each session is for the duration of one hour and can be on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

Exclusion Criteria

The service is not available to the following:

  • Patients with complex psychiatric histories
  • Major mental health difficulties
  • Addictions and issues relating to substance misuse
  • Active and recent suicidal behaviour and ideation
  • Severe challenging behaviour such as aggression and violence
  • People under the age of 18