Project ASK aids patients and caregivers who have been denied or given limited access to treatment, benefits, medicine or healthcare. Our Case Managers help patients navigate their way to accessing the treatment they are entitled to, regardless of whether or not they are being treated in a State hospital, or belong to a medical scheme, at any stage of their cancer journey. We also advise patients on how to deal with workplace situations arising from their cancer diagnosis.
Being diagnosed with cancer is very overwhelming for a patient and their loved ones. Campaigning for Cancer’s mission is to be that someone to help you find credible information about your cancer journey, direct you to support services and aid you in ensuring that you are getting the best possible treatment through advocacy services. Campaigning for Cancer’s Project Ask is a free, easily accessible service that helps the patient feel more empowered by steering them through the steps of their cancer journey. The right answers are as important as the proper treatment and at Campaigning for Cancer, we help you get both.
Our aim is to ensure that all South Africans are informed and educated about cancer and their rights and responsibilities as patients, thus allowing cancer patients and their loved ones to make informed decisions regarding their cancer journey and ensure that they better understand and manage their experiences navigating a complex healthcare system as they receive treatment. Ultimately, we aim to improve outcomes and promote efficient, cost-effective care of cancer patients in South Africa.
We commit to providing the following services to patients and people affected by cancer:
Access to INFORMATION: through our comprehensive databases and disease resources we can provide a patient, caregiver or loved one of a patient with information about their disease or their treatment and the steps along the journey they are about to undertake or what their patient rights and responsibilities are.
Access to SUPPORT: we offer referral to well-established and well-governed support groups. These support groups will provide guidance, advice and emotional support to survivors and their families, to improve their quality of life in all phases during and after their treatment. Campaigning for Cancer collaborates with a number of support groups and will endeavour, where possible, to ensure that the patient, caregiver or family member is directed to a support group in their area.
ACCESSING TREATMENT and PATIENT ADVOCACY: we will help the patient, caregiver or family member navigate their way when accessing the treatment they are entitled to, regardless if they are being treated in a state hospital or belong to medical aid, and advise them on the best ways to deal with workplace situations arising from their cancer diagnosis.
Types of ACCESS TO TREATMENT and PATIENT ADVOCACY issues we can help with:
Guiding the patient, caregiver or family member through the steps of exercising their rights and processes of appeal with regards to:
- A medical scheme declining their treatment plan or not correctly allocating their treatment in relation to their benefits.
- Helping the patient, caregiver or family member develop treatment motivations for submission to their medical scheme.
- Helping the patient, caregiver or family member apply for ex gratia funding with their medical scheme.
- Helping the patient, caregiver or family member with their cancer diagnosis and treatment services in public hospitals.
- Problems with referrals in public hospitals.
- Unfair treatment in public hospitals.
- Unfair treatment in the workplace.
With rights come responsibilities and we require that the patient, caregiver or family member be aware of their responsibilities towards the process. (This is stipulated in our Patient’s Terms & Conditions)
- Trust your gut. Sometimes our feeling that something is unfair means that it probably is.
- Keep your cool! Do not get angry – the person you are complaining to is probably not the person who is making the decisions and is just trying to do his or her job. If you get mad, you may not get through to a person who will solve your problem.
- Always keep records of who you spoke to, when it was and what was said. Keep copies of all correspondence, emails, faxes, sms’s, and the like. If you have to submit these documents as proof, do not submit the originals and always keep an extra set of copies in a safe place.
- On letters, documents, and so on: write down who received the document and when it was delivered or sent. If you receive a letter back, write down when you received the letter
- If the discussion or responses are in a type of language you do not understand (medical terminology, legal terminology, abbreviations or acronyms), ask the person who wrote the letter to give you understandable explanations (plain language explanations). Also ask for assistance from your doctor or patient support groups if you do not understand any of the answers given to you. There is a law that you can use to access any information regarding your medical treatment. It is called the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA). You can use it to get copies of letters, discussions, findings, recordings of telephone conversations, and more, from the hospital.
- Get the support of your doctor/social worker/nurse at the practice. They may have important information which could help your case.
- If people tell you that what you are saying is not right, tell them that you have received the information from a good source.
- Do not feel intimidated by threats of the law, or any bad consequences for you. As patients you have the law on your side.
- In public hospitals and clinics, there has to be someone who is the Complaints Officer. If you are unhappy, immediate go to him/her.