Nationwide customers affected by heart disease, stroke and motor neurone disease are to be offered specialist help and advice.

The building society is extending the specialist support service it currently offers customers affected by cancer to include a wider range of conditions.

The service was launched in October 2015 in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support and has since been accessed by more than 650 customers.

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As well as dealing with immediate requests for help, the service – the first of its kind in the UK – also supports customers with the longer-term management of their finances.

Support is tailored to the needs of individuals and relates to the types of products and services they have.

Each customer is allocated a case worker who will identify the product and service changes that best suit them. These could include mortgage payment holidays, reduction or removal of interest on their credit card, or assistance with claiming on a critical illness policy.

The service is run by a team at Nationwide’s headquarters in Swindon, although staff in 57 branches around the country have been given training to identify and refer customers who may benefit from the service.

As the service is extended to include those affected by other life-limiting conditions, the training is being rolled out to all Nationwide branches.

Mandy Griffin, Nationwide’s head of customer experience delivery, said: “A diagnosis of a life-limiting or life-threatening condition can turn someone’s life upside down.

The majority of customers who have used the service were referred by Nationwide branch staff. Image by Professional Images

“At such a time, money should be the last thing on your mind. Our Specialist Support Service helps our customers when they may need us the most.

“We know one size doesn’t fit all, so the support we offer is tailored to a customer’s individual circumstances.

“The feedback from customers who have already been through the service has been extremely positive, which is why I am happy we are now able to widen the service out to support more of our customers. As part of this journey, we’re committed to look to other situations where we can support our customers.”

The majority of those who have used the service (86%) were either referred by a Nationwide employee or contacted the company about it directly.

Around one in eight customers (14%) have been referred from Nationwide’s partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support.

Nationwide said it has also been able to refer people coming directly to the service back to Macmillan, enabling customers to unlock more than £102,000 worth of benefits-related financial assistance weren’t previously aware of.