Macmillan Cancer Support has funded a new team of Macmillan Support Nurses in Barnstaple, who are mostly based at North Devon District Hospital.

The new nurses will support people as they go through cancer treatment, helping them to deal with and manage the side effects and consequences of their treatment.

The cancer charity's investment is the equivalent of five new posts and will increase the Macmillan support nurse team to seven.

They work across a range of cancer types, including haematology, lung, urology, dermatology and acute oncology, supporting patients as early as possible from their diagnosis and during their treatment.

Part of their roles will be to offer patients 'holistic needs assessments', which help to flag up any side effects that are affecting them, or emotional and practical concerns, so that they can be addressed as early as possible.

They will also help patients to support their own recovery through attending health and wellbeing clinics, support groups and end of treatment visits.

Wendi Abraham, Macmillan partnership manager in the South West, said: "We are absolutely thrilled to announce our latest investment in North Devon, which will see more nurses joining the cancer services team at North Devon District Hospital.

"The new nurses will mean the team can be there for people throughout their treatment, supporting them every step of the way.

"This additional support for local people living with cancer and North Devon's cancer services team is going to make a huge difference for staff and patients."

Steven Johnson-Wood, Macmillan Living With and Beyond Cancer Project lead at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT), added: "As the number of people living with cancer continues to grow each year, Macmillan Cancer Support and NDHT are working together to invest in the cancer nursing workforce at North Devon District Hospital.

"These new support nurse posts in will help to ensure that patients' holistic needs are met, and side effects or consequences of treatment are addressed as early as possible. "

NDHT and Macmillan Cancer Support have been working in partnership for many years. Macmillan funded the first Macmillan professional, a palliative care nurse, at NDHT in 2004 and there are now 13 Macmillan professionals at NDHT, from nurses to counsellors.

The additional nurses working in acute oncology will also make it possible for the trust to trial a seven-day service within the acute oncology service, with the aim of reviewing patients within 24 hours of admission, increasing the level of early discharge on weekends.