Better to consolidate services provided by cancer help groups

As a volunteer, I often work with cancer patients.

Many patients, particularly those in the lower-income group, are referred to a cancer-related voluntary welfare organisation (VWO) for assistance.

Cancer patients from public hospitals are referred to the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS), which, until recently, was the only cancer-related VWO I had heard of.

Recently, I became aware of another cancer-related VWO, 365 Cancer Prevention Society (365CPS), because I started seeing its volunteers soliciting donations at various locations.

Other than conducting fund-raising activities, I have not seen this VWO take part in any cancer-related public events like cancer prevention forums and exhibitions, which are run by the SCS.

As the vision, mission and scope of services offered by both the SCS and 365CPS are similar, what is the reason for the existence of two VWOs working separately to help cancer patients?

Public hospitals refer patients to the SCS, but not to 365CPS. Why is this so? Also, are the medical social workers aware that there is another VWO helping cancer patients?

I believe few members of the public have heard of 365CPS.

In the light of this, wouldn't a consolidation of the services provided by both VWOs be in the overall interest of cancer patients here?

Instead of the SCS being overwhelmed by referrals and possibly having to turn away some people, or not being able to offer help readily owing to a shortage of manpower and financial resources, a merger would allow all needy patients to receive assistance.

Ng Kim Yong (Mrs)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2018, with the headline 'Better to consolidate services provided by cancer help groups'. Subscribe