Leukaemia UK's specialist Mind & Body team at King’s College Hospital is the first in the country to offer integrated physical and mental healthcare to people living with blood cancer

Leukaemia UK's new groundbreaking project could revolutionise blood cancer care by making emotional support a key part of everyone's treatment.

The Leukaemia UK Mind & Body Team is dedicated to the needs of people living with blood cancers and brings together excellence in both clinical and psychological care.

Our team will operate from King's College Hospital's haematology department for a two-year period, after which it is hoped the initiative can be extended to other hospitals.

Dr Sean Cross, Clinical Director of the Mind & Body programme, Kings Health Partners, said: "This programme, funded by Leukaemia UK, is about enhancing whole patient care by recognising the importance of someone's mental, physical and emotional needs using highly skilled professionals in each area to enable the best quality of care to be offered. King's intends to be a global leader in this area."

As part of the initiative, people living with blood cancers will automatically receive psychological support soon after diagnosis which will be maintained with regular contact throughout treatment, and in some cases, beyond. It is hoped that by making emotional support an integral part of the treatment process, serious psychological problems may be identified early or even avoided altogether.

Billie McPartlan, who is in remission after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia two years ago, said psychological support had played a vital part in her recovery.

"I hope that Leukaemia UK’s Mind & Body initiative will be the first step to giving mental health the recognition it deserves, ensuring it is an ongoing part of treatment," she said.

She told guests at the launch of the scheme: "During the initial stages of my treatment I suffered from extreme bouts of anxiety. My psychologist helped me use various techniques to try and rationalise many of the thoughts and feelings I was having. As my mental health began to improve, so did my physical ability."

We thank Billie for sharing her story with us.

For the first time it will be possible to measure and evaluate the difference made to patient recovery and wellbeing, which it is hoped will prove that providing top-class emotional support, as well as excellent clinical care, will make a significant difference to people living with blood cancer and their families.

Ghulam Mufti, Professor of Haemato-oncology at King's College Hospital, said the Leukaemia UK Mind & Body Team was "globally unique".

"We are extremely grateful to Leukaemia UK for all the support that it has given us over the years. It is essential that we continue to research leukaemia to get rid of this disease, but equally it is also important to support the body and mind, particularly the mind," he said.

"The implications of treatments such as chemotherapy and transplants make a patient's psychological journey huge and the Mind & Body Team's work will reflect that."

Angela Smith-Morgan, CEO of Leukaemia UK, said: "We believe the Mind & Body Team will help to drive through a fundamental change in care, both for people with a blood cancer, and for their families, who need support as much as they do.  

"We are incredibly proud to be funding this new team at King's. We're excited to see the difference it will make to lives and are looking forward to supporting such centres around the country."

We wish to thank all those who joined us at this event, where we also unveiled the new impactful video created by Frontera London:

YouTube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjIm7Gl9dh8

Donate to Leukaemia UK's Mind & Body team appeal today to help us support more families affected by blood cancers.

Our Leukaemia UK Mind & Body team is part of King's Health Partners' Mind & Body initiative joining up mental and physical healthcare, training and research to improve health outcomes for their patients and service users.

Cover video created by: Natasha Sutton @Split2ndEvents