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Spacious new home for Wansbeck oncology unit officially opened

Monday, 14 August, 2017
Spacious new home for Wansbeck oncology unit officially opened

A new unit which is benefitting patients receiving treatment for cancer has been officially opened at Wansbeck General Hospital.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s oncology day unit, which provides chemotherapy and supportive treatments, has a spacious new home providing the best possible environment for patients.

With two large treatment areas each accommodating six chairs, the unit provides much more room for patients, improving their privacy and dignity while still enabling social interaction.

The whole unit has been completely refurbished and purpose-designed not to look like a traditional hospital setting with everything from the furniture to the décor chosen with patients in mind.

Around £50,000 which was raised by patients past and present and their families was donated to the trust’s Bright Charity to create the perfect surroundings.

The new unit was made possible thanks to space being made available at Wansbeck hospital due to the separation of emergency and planned and on-going care with the opening of The Northumbria hospital in June 2015.

The unit was officially opened by Chris Johnson, former unit manager who was instrumental in efforts to move to the new premises and improve the environment for patients. Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery was also in attendance.

Chris, who retired at the end of last year, said: “I was truly honoured to return to Wansbeck hospital and officially open the new oncology unit.

“It was always our dream to provide treatment to our patients in a unit like this and it’s truly fantastic to have an environment where everything has been the designed specifically to improve their experiences.

“While we received positive feedback about the care we delivered in the former unit, we always acknowledged that the facilities could be enhanced and our patients would benefit from more space and everyone is so pleased with the end result.”

Ian said: “It is excellent to see Northumbria Healthcare continually invest in services at Wansbeck hospital and put the space freed up by the opening of The Northumbria hospital to good use.

“We all know someone who has been affected by cancer and it’s great news for patients and their families that this new unit is here.

“It’s clearly evident that so much thought has gone into creating the perfect environment from the treatment chairs to the pictures on the wall and it all makes such a huge difference to patients.

“I’d like to commend and congratulate everybody involved.”

Alongside the treatment space on the oncology unit, there is a reception area with tea and coffee making facilities and separate rooms to enable private consultations and other services such as cancer psychology and complementary therapies to take place.

Gillian Thorne, oncology nurse specialist and manager of the unit at Wansbeck hospital, said: “We’re delighted to be in our new unit and the surroundings are absolutely superb.

“It’s much more spacious than the former unit and means our patients have greater privacy when they’re receiving treatment which is so important.

“It has also given us the opportunity to provide dedicated areas for our psychology service and complementary therapies which all help to improve patients’ experiences.

“I’d like to thank every member of the team who have worked so hard to bring our dream to a reality and patients past and present and their families who have fund-raised and enabled us to now have this wonderful space.

“We’ve been blown away by the comments we’ve received with patients saying we’ve created a welcoming environment and really appreciate the little touches.”

The unit is one of five nurse-led facilities run by the trust ensuring patients receive treatment for cancer closer to home.

One of the rooms on the Wansbeck unit is dedicated to the cancer psychology service which is for patients and carers who are experiencing some form of psychological or emotional issue in relation to cancer, and has been furnished and decorated specifically with this purpose in mind.

While accessible from the unit, it is also separate from it, providing patients with a therapeutic space that is away from where they might have received medical treatment. The space is also used to hold the various patient groups the team run. 

Another side room is to be used for complementary therapies, which help alleviate the symptoms related to cancer and chemotherapy.

Other support services such as benefit and legal advice also make use of the oncology unit to provide a holistic service to patients.


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