A NEW counselling service has been launched in hospitals in Colchester to support patients diagnosed with cancer.

The service, available in Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital, will also support families and carers of patients and ensures improved access to this type of psychosocial care.

The Macmillan Counselling Service, which is supported by St Helena Hospice, based in Highwoods, Colchester, was launched at the beginning of February .

It is available to patients at any stage of diagnosis.

Donna Booton, Matron for Cancer Services at Colchester Hospital Trust, said: “We are really pleased to have this service in our hospitals for our patients as it has been identified as a gap for a long time in North East Essex.

“It is hoped that the service will result in improvements in overall quality of life and make the experience of having cancer more manageable for our patients.”

Patients can be referred by cancer doctors at either hospital, through district nurses or by calling St Helena Hospice on 01206 848163.