A new centre head and a specialist on board for Maggie’s Fife

Alison Allan and Rose Small (Pic by Fife Photo Agency)
Alison Allan and Rose Small (Pic by Fife Photo Agency)

It’s all change at our Maggie’s Centre, with a new centre head and cancer care specialist taking up their posts last month.

And Alison Allan, centre head, and Rosie Small are already settling in well, with both saying they have been impressed with what they have seen so far.

Both women come from nursing backgrounds, with Alison (51) having worked mainly in palliative care in Edinburgh and latterly with the children’s hospice at Balloch.

“Cancer affects people in different ways and Maggie’s is able to offer people the time and support for the emotional and psychological elements of care that they need as well as their clinical treatment,” she said.

“It was this ethos of Maggie’s which really appealed to me and the way that Maggie’s supports people at their own pace and when they are ready for it.

“We are there to support people through their treatment and beyond, right up to bereavement if that is the way things go, and we are also there for their families and friends.”

Alison spent a week at the Maggie’s Centre in Newcastle and a week in Edinburgh learning the ropes before coming to Fife two weeks ago.

“It was really interesting to see the various programmes in action and getting feedback on the benefits those taking part were getting from them,” she said.

“Now I am getting to know the team here and the centre users and I am looking forward to developing the programme to meet the needs of the people of Fife.”

Rosie (51), a mother-of-five from Linlithgow, has been an oncology nurse for 28 years, and a breast cancer specialist for 16 of those.

For the past eight years she has worked with the Macmillan charity and opened the first cancer information support centre for them in West Lothian.

She told the Press: “Twenty years ago when I was doing my cancer nurse training I had the privilege of meeting Maggie Keswick Jenks when she was undergoing treatment at the Western General Hospital.

“I thought she was a very forward-thinking lady who was using her experience of a difficult situation to try to improve the care that others received in future. She felt that what was missing from her care was the psychological support.

“I watched with interest as the first Maggie’s Centre opened in Edinburgh, and it has been an integral part of my work in the NHS.

“It has been a direction I always wanted my career to go in, so I am delighted to finally be working for Maggie’s.”

Rosie spent some time at Maggie’s in Lanarkshire seeing how the centre worked and was impressed with the programmes on offer.

“Since coming here I have seen and heard from people using the centre of the benefits of them using parts of the programme as a tool to help them to gain confidence and wellbeing.

“It is a well run centre which I am looking forward to helping to develop, particularly in encouraging more men to come along and see what is on offer for them.

“At the moment there are between 30-40 per cent male users, and I would like to see that becoming more 50-50.

“It is important to get the message across that it is here for everyone affected by cancer, men and women – and also their friends and family who are also affected.”