PICTURES AND VIDEO: New NGS Macmillan Unit at Chesterfield Royal Hospital is '˜world class'

Chesterfield Royal Hospital's new NGS Macmillan Unit has been hailed as '˜world class'.

Monday, 25th September 2017, 1:16 pm
Updated Monday, 25th September 2017, 1:17 pm
NGS Macmillan Unit, Dr Roger Start with Martin McMillan of the NGS and Elaine Wilson of Macmillan the two organisations that have funded the unit

After six-years in the making, the £10million state-of-the-art facility was officially unveiled on Friday after opening in June.

The impressive building, which brings many of the Trust’s cancer outpatient services together under one roof, means people will no longer have to travel to Sheffield for treatment.

Dr Roger Start, lead cancer clinician at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, said: “It has been challenging but I think in reality when you look at what we have done - which is take a green field site and build what I think is a world class cancer facility - it is not a surprise it has taken this long.”

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Dr Start, who is responsible for overseeing cancer services at the hospital, also said he was pleased the community bought into what they were trying to achieve.

He told the Derbyshire Times: “We have spent £10million of which £2.7million has been raised by a combination of the National Garden Scheme and local people. And to me that has been a real eye opener in the sense that the community really got the message. They understood the importance of it and they got behind it. The fact that this unit is as good as it is a real payback for their efforts.”

Services that have been built into the unit include haematology, oncology, acute oncology service, chemotherapy, selected medical day case activity, palliative care and respiratory clinics.

The centre now has 21 treatment chairs, two treatment beds and three treatment rooms for chemotherapy patients, compared to the eight chairs in the old Cavendish Suite which more than triples the capacity for treatment.

NGS Macmillan Unit, patient Carol Wheeldon with nurse Yovana Ward

Downstairs there is also an information and support centre for patients where people can go for instant advice.

Lead chemotherapy nurse, Carly Starkey, who works at the unit, said: “The best thing about this building is that it is so calm. We have got triple the amount of chairs that we had before but even in our busiest times it still has an air of calm and I think that rubs off on the patients as well.”

Patient Carol Wheeldon, 52, who has secondary breast cancer, had been going to the Cavendish Suite for 17 years and was one of the first patients to use the new unit.

“When I first came to see the unit I was in awe,” she said. “It is lovely to have all this space and light. The Cavendish Suite was just like somebody’s sitting room.

NGS Macmillan Unit, chemotherapy matron Carly Starkey and Dr Roger Start in the chemotherapy suite

“The environment is so relaxed - there is no stress or upset.

“We have got a beautiful view. You have got all the lovely wildlife, all the greenery, it is gorgeous.

“I can’t praise the staff enough - they are like family members.”

The main aim for the hospital now is to best utilise the facility for the people of Chesterfield and north Derbyshire.

NGS Macmillan Unit, the new chemotherapy suite

And as Dr Start explained, the facility would not have happened had it not been for the generosity of Macmillan and National Garden Scheme.

Elaine Wilson, Macmillan strategic partnership manager for East Midlands, said: “It is amazing to be here and see it up and running. It is a combination of about six years’ hard work to get to this point and I think it has been challenging as these things always are. But we are here and the doors are open and patients in Chesterfield and north Derbyshire are coming in and having their treatment here instead of having to go to Sheffield so for us in Macmillan that is a major ambition in being able to offer treatment and care closer to home.”

George Plumptre, chief executive at the National Garden Scheme, said: “The National Garden Scheme and Macmillan Cancer Support have been working in partnership for over 30 years. We are proud to have contributed £1.5million to the NGS Macmillan Unit which is set to provide vital support for more people living with cancer in north Derbyshire. I would like to thank all of our garden owners who open their gardens to help support much needed projects like this one.”

NGS Macmillan Unit,
NGS Macmillan Unit, patient Carol Wheeldon with nurse Yovana Ward
NGS Macmillan Unit, chemotherapy matron Carly Starkey and Dr Roger Start in the chemotherapy suite
NGS Macmillan Unit, the new chemotherapy suite
NGS Macmillan Unit,