In May 2013 ELF launched the third offering in their Community Support Programme when they entered into an agreement with Exeter Citizens Advice Bureau to offer welfare and benefits advice to Haematology patients and their loved ones. Although initial appointments are booked through Emma Gray, ELF Community Support Co-ordinator at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, the reception staff at the Citizens Advice Bureau have been pro-active in passing on client details to Freya Searle, the dedicated advisor for the ELF Advice Service, once they realise the client is a Haematology patient. ELF's agreement with CAB means that a client can usually be seen within a week thus reducing some of the anxiety about their finances and enabling them to concentrate on their illness. Since the launch Freya has been able to help 36 haematology patients or their relatives with 6 of these clients potentially receiving an annual financial gain of around £29,000 between them. A patient, Robert Lowell, who was recently diagnosed and was in hospital receiving treatment unable to work, was referred by ELF. CAB established that Rob was eligible for Employment and Support Allowance a benefit for people who are unable to work because of illness or disability (a financial gain of £5,538 per annum). Robert said, The service provided by ELF through CAB has been tremendous, a real weight off my shoulders. Steve Barriball, Chief Executive of Exeter Citizens Advice Bureau said, We are delighted with the early progress that this service is making.
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