April 24 2014 Latest news:
Monday, May 13, 2013
A PLANNING application has been approved for a £2.9 million cancer centre.
Stevenage Borough Council has approved the plans for the Macmillan Cancer Centre at Lister Hospital in Stevenage.
The centre, which will be managed by the East and North Herts NHS Trust, will almost double Lister’s chemotherapy capacity, dramatically reduce the cramped conditions for patients and staff, and create a dedicated information and support centre for patients and families.
Two gardens for patients to relax in while undergoing treatment will also be created.
The cost of developing the centre will be jointly met by the hospital trust and Macmillan, which is set to launch a fundraising appeal for £1.5 million.
Lister serves the 1,500 people diagnosed with cancer every year across east and north Herts, along with the further 10,000 people already living with cancer in the region.
Liz Lees, Macmillan nursing service manager for cancer at Lister, said: “We have an award-winning team here at Lister, but there is no denying that our current facilities for cancer outpatient and chemotherapy treatment are cramped and unsuitable to meet future demand.”
Tracey Oliver, 38, was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago and receives regular treatment at Lister. “The waiting area is too small,” she said. “There are always a few people standing. I’m usually there two or three hours in total. They definitely need more space – it’s too cramped.”
The cancer centre will also provide consistent access to a team of Macmillan welfare benefits advisors who can help patients with their financial worries, a greater number of consultation rooms to allow patients more privacy, and more working areas for Lister nurses and other clinical staff to prepare drugs, improving efficiency and reducing waiting times.
Liz Cooper, 58, has been diagnosed with breast cancer and said: “A little more privacy to talk to staff would help. Somewhere a bit more private, because you often have to discuss your condition in the waiting room. Such things can make a huge difference.”
Gwyneth Tyler, Macmillan’s senior development manager for East and North Herts, said: “Cancer patients are living so much longer after their diagnosis than they did 30 years ago, which is fantastic news, but cancer is the toughest fight most of us will ever face and no one should face it alone. More people living with cancer means we need to plan better services and develop more personalised care for people.”
Jimmy Dawson, chair of the Stevenage and District Macmillan Fundraising Committee, who was treated for bowel cancer at Lister, said: “This new cancer centre is a wonderful thing for local people, who will be enormously fortunate to have this facility.
“People will be so glad for its provision and its services. After all, cancer is both physically and mentally one of the biggest challenges of your life.”