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Research project: Mapping and understanding the scope and role of specialist cancer helplines in the UK and the barriers and enablers to maximizing their effectiveness

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Helplines are a core feature of the contemporary UK health care system. There are over 1,500 helplines in operation, yet little is known about delivering and seeking cancer-related telephone help.

This project aims to map cancer helplines in the UK and understand the communication processes used by callers and helpline agents.

We are working with Macmillan Cancer Support, and other cancer helplines.

The research is being carried out by a team at the University of Southampton, with funding from the National Institute for Health Research, and Dimbleby Cancer Care.

Understanding cancer helplines

This project is composed of 4 studies:

  1. Analyse recorded helpline calls to see how they are used. 
  2. Interview callers and agents (call-takers) to ascertain their views on providing/receiving telephone help. 
  3. Conduct a survey of helplines to map the UK services and understand their scope and capabilities.
  4. Hold expert panels to obtain feedback, possible solutions to problems highlighted, and approaches to future training.
The four studies of the project

Project team

Leydon, G., Moynihan, C., Salmon, P., Latter, S., Little, P., McPherson, K., Brindle, L, Corner, J.

Project funder

Dimbleby Cancer Care

Associated research themes

Cancer care

Related research groups

Complex Healthcare Processes
Health Work and Systems
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