£3m committed for specialist cancer unit

14:27 16 May 2013

A view of the waiting room

A view of the waiting room

Archant

A HATFIELD support group boss has described plans for a multi-million pound cancer unit revamp “fantastic.”

Nearly £3million is set to be spent transforming the Macmillan Cancer Centre in the Lister Hospital, Stevenage, which treats patients from Times Territory.

More than half of the money needed will have to be raised by Macmillan as they prepare to launch a fundraising campaign.

The “cramped” unit, in Stevenage, looks after 10,000 people with cancer from across the region.

Marie Barnes, who runs the QE2-based Breast Friends support group, said the investment would “make a huge difference”.

She had chemotherapy at the Lister in 2007 after being diagnosed with breast cancer and thinks the new plans are “fantastic”.

The 43-year-old, of Holme Close, Hatfield, told the WHT: “It was a very small unit and there were too many people for the size of it.

“It was not very pleasant having chemo, let alone having to walk all over people to find a seat - it was just not a nice environment.”

The plans, which are set to cost £2.9 million, will see the chemotherapy unit nearly doubled in size and bring the vast majority of cancer services under one roof.

Two gardens where patients can relax will also be created.

“I think it is a brilliant idea. It’s fantastic.

“Just having somewhere quiet to sit is very very important,” she added.

Along with 1,500 newly diagnosed patients annually, the care unit also treats 10,000 people living with cancer in the region.

Liz Lees, Macmillan nursing service manager for cancer at the Lister, said: “We have an award-winning team here at the Lister, but there is no denying that our current facilities for cancer outpatient and chemotherapy treatment are cramped and unsuitable to meet future demand.”

When the plans, which were approved by Stevenage Borough Council, do go ahead, the charity says it will dramatically reduce the cramped conditions for patients and staff and create a dedicated information and support centre for patients and families.

Francoise Austin, president of the Welwyn Hatfield fundraising committee for Macmillan support, said: “This new centre will enable people who are diagnosed with cancer to have counselling in the right environment. I think that is very positive.”

“We can support something that is local for us and that is why we are delighted to work for Macmillan,” she added.

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