Carol Croft (53), was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2011. She had chemotherapy and reconstructive surgery at Hinchingbrooke. ‘The day I got my results, I had quite a long wait and I was hoping that they’d say everything’s fine. Unfortunately the news was not good. ’ Woodlands’ cramped facilities made privacy difficult: ‘I found walking out that day, when I had obviously been crying, a little intimidating as you have to walk through the waiting room to get to the exit.’
Cancer care for patients served by Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust will be transformed under plans announced today (February 11th) for a £2.4m new state-of-the-art extension to the hospital’s Macmillan Woodlands Centre.
For the past three years, hospital staff and local fundraisers have captured local people’s imaginations with a vision of transformed cancer services at the hospital. In that time they have raised more than £600,000. A further £600,000 committed from the Trust’s Charitable Funds Committee, which includes the generous support of the Temple Bowyer legacy, means that already £1.2 million has been raised toward the new Macmillan Woodlands Centre.
Today, Macmillan Cancer Support in Huntingdon and the surrounding area is delighted to announce that it has joined forces with the Trust and is launching an ambitious fundraising appeal for the remaining £1.2 million needed to build the new centre.
The new Macmillan Woodlands Centre is designed to meet the growing numbers of local cancer patients needing treatment, which is expected to double to 3,000 by 2016. Due to open at the end of 2015, the new centre will bring an end to patients having to endure often cramped conditions, longer waits than necessary, or having to travel to other hospitals for treatment.
The spacious centre will improve the privacy and dignity available to patients during their treatment and enable loved ones to remain with them during their treatment, which currently cannot always happen. The new chemotherapy suites will be able to treat 15 people at a time, which is a significant improvement on the current over-subscribed capacity of nine, plus there will be two single treatment rooms.
Cancer patients needing transfusions will benefit from the expertise and caring environment that is already a hallmark of the existing Macmillan Woodlands Centre, instead of being treated elsewhere in the hospital due to lack of space. The new Macmillan Woodlands Centre will also include new reception and information areas, a sensory garden and space for complementary therapies. Not least, the dedicated staff will have much needed extra space in which to work more efficiently.
Patient Ruth King, (45), who was treated for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, welcomed news of the new Macmillan Woodlands Centre: “Both the waiting area and the treatment room can be very crowded. There is no privacy because you are sitting so close to other people.”
Ruth adds: “The new centre will be fantastic for the future if it means people can continue having treatment in a local hospital, rather than have to travel to Addenbrooke’s or Peterborough Hospital. I had four cycles of aggressive chemotherapy in Peterborough and it became extremely difficult for me because I couldn’t drive myself. I had to rely on the goodwill of friends.”
Hisham Abdel-Rahman, Chief Executive of Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust, says: “We are delighted to be making this exciting announcement, but it has only been made possible because of some extraordinary local fundraising by our staff and local people in recent years and now a partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support. Together we are working hard to provide local people with cancer services that are second to none.”
Gwyneth Tyler, Macmillan Senior Development Manager for Cambridgeshire, says: “Every year, more than 850 people in Huntingdon and the surrounding areas are told that they have cancer and more than 5,600 are living with or beyond cancer. As the cancer story in the area changes and becomes more complex, it is more important than ever that, together with our partner Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust and passionate local fundraisers, we strive even harder to ensure no-one locally faces cancer alone. We are thrilled at the prospect of the new Macmillan Woodlands Centre and would urge everyone to support the fundraising appeal launched today.”
Lynda Hall, Macmillan Lead Nurse for Cancer and Palliative Care at Hinchingbrooke, says: “When I started working here in 1995, we would see two or three patients a day for treatment. Now it can be as many as thirty patients coming through the unit. We have been fast running out of space and I am very excited to know that we will soon be able to give the patients of Huntingdon and the surrounding area the kind of environment they deserve as they go through their cancer journey.”
Jessica Levin, Fundraising Manager locally for Macmillan, urged people in Huntingdon and the surrounding area to join the fundraising effort for the new centre. She says: “We hope that as many individuals, groups of friends, families, schools and businesses, will play a part in helping us to reach the huge target we have set ourselves to make the dream of the new Macmillan Woodlands Centre a reality.”
People wishing to support the £1.2 million fundraising appeal are being urged to call Macmillan on 0300 1000 200 or visit the special Macmillan Woodlands Centre appeal page www.macmillan.org.uk/hinchingbrookeFor further information, please contact:
- Andie Hill, Regional Communications Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support on 020 7091 4745 (office)
- Keith Ewing, Communications Manager, Macmillan Cancer Support on 020 7091 2365 (office); 07595 243109 (mobile)
- Gordon Hector, Head of Communications Circle / Hinchingbrooke on 07963 316 053