9 March 2010
A centre that supports cancer patients throughout Moray has held a special event to celebrate receiving an award that recognises high standards in building design.
The Oaks Palliative Care Day Unit in Elgin is one of just three sites in Scotland to receive the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark (MQEM).
The award was launched in January by charity Macmillan Cancer Support and is the first in the UK that specifically assesses how well buildings such as chemotherapy and palliative units provide support and care to people affected by cancer.
To celebrate, The Oaks will hosted an event on Thursday (4th March) that was attended by around 40 staff, volunteers and people affected by cancer. Representatives from Macmillan and NHS Grampian were also in attendance.
Sandra Anderson, unit manager at The Oaks in Elgin, said: “We are thrilled to receive this prestigious award. We couldn’t have done it without the help of the staff and volunteers who work on a daily basis including our therapists, counsellors and fundraisers. The work everyone does at The Oaks is phenomenal and goes a long way to helping us maintain high standards of care for people affected by cancer in Moray.”
Someone who is grateful for the support she has received at The Oaks is music teacher Sheila Pettitt, of Forres, Moray. Sheila, 56, was diagnosed with cancer in March 2008 and has been visiting The Oaks since October.
Sheila said: “The Oaks is one of my life lines. There’s so much positive energy there and I think the staff and the volunteers are wonderful. I’m so grateful to have somewhere to go where it’s totally okay to be myself.
“As well as enjoying the company of other people who use The Oaks, I really benefit from visits from the complementary therapists as they really help me to relax.
“The Oaks is a lovely, nurturing environment and you can tell a lot of thought has gone into making it as special and uplifting as it is. From the harmonious and pleasing décor to the staff and volunteers who are all so supportive, it all goes towards making The Oaks a place that makes a real difference to the lives of everyone who visits.”
The Macmillan Quality Environment Mark will help to ensure that people affected by cancer are treated and supported in physical environments of uniformly high quality.
The scheme is open to any healthcare providers from the public, voluntary or private sectors that operate cancer care buildings. It has been developed in collaboration with people living with cancer and organisations including the Department of Health in England.
Elspeth Atkinson, Macmillan’s director for Scotland, said: “This award reflects the hard work and dedication of the team that designed the centre and all the staff and volunteers who work to make it a welcoming and supportive environment for patients and their families.
“To receive the award, environments have to score highly in areas such as use of space, comfort and atmosphere, personal and social interaction and health and well being. Consideration is given to such things as the greeting people receive when they come to a centre, the use of natural light and outdoor space, and the availability of quiet, private rooms – all areas that were highlighted as really important by people living with cancer who helped develop the award.”
The Oaks was built in 2003 and officially opened by Prince Charles after a Moray-wide Macmillan fundraising appeal. It is now run by NHS Grampian.
Andrew Fowlie, general manager for NHS Grampian in Moray, said: “NHS Grampian is pleased that The Oaks has been recognised in such a positive way.
“Palliative care is a substantial part of health care delivery in Scotland and we strive to improve the way in which we support people all of the time. The Oaks acts as a hub in the Moray area for much of the activity around palliative care and has a wide influence into all of Moray's communities.”
To find out more about The Oaks, telephone 01343 555104 or visit www.nhsgerampian.org.uk and follow the link for The Oaks.
Organisations can apply to be assessed for the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark via www.macmillan.org.uk/cancerenvironments.
To find out more about the work of Macmillan Cancer Support visit www.macmillan.org.uk or call 0808 808 0000.