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New £4.7m cancer centre announced for Ipswich Hospital

Cancer care for patients served by Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust will be transformed under plans announced today (Nov 28) for a new £4.7million state-of-the-art cancer centre.

The Woolverstone Macmillan Centre, due to open in 2016, will bring to an end patients’ current experience of often cramped conditions, not always having the privacy and dignity they deserve and sometimes having to be admitted overnight or travel to other hospitals for treatment.

The Woolverstone Macmillan Centre will bring together outpatient chemotherapy, oncology and haematology day services. Planned new chemotherapy suites will be able to treat 30 people at a time, a significant improvement on the current over-subscribed capacity of 12. The centre will be able to treat nearly 21,000 people each year, more than double the current number.

For the past five years, the Woolverstone Wish appeal has captured many Suffolk people’s imaginations with a vision of transformed cancer services at the hospital. In that time they have raised more than £770,000. A further £250,000 committed by The Ipswich Hospital Charitable Trust means that already £1million has been raised toward the new centre, announced today. Macmillan Cancer Support in Suffolk has now joined forces with the Trust and is launching a fundraising appeal for the remaining £3.7million needed to build the new centre.

Patient Roger Betts, (67), from Ipswich, who has been treated for tonsil cancer and has already raised funds towards new facilities, said: “The chemo unit was very busy and sometimes I felt I just wanted somewhere to sit and have 10 minutes’ peace. To have a little oasis would have been wonderful. Somewhere to sit, to be tranquil and take a little time just to calm down.
“When the new building opens, I’ll really enjoy seeing all the new facilities and seeing people use them knowing there is hope. A lot of people have done much more than I have to raise funds, but I’ll be proud of the limited amount that I have done to help.”
Maria Weaver (47), from Felixstowe, whose husband Ross (53) is being treated for bowel cancer, said: “Sometimes there’s no space for me to sit with my husband Ross. He’s needle-phobic, which doesn’t help, so when he’s getting the canula in, he’ll squeeze my hand and close his eyes and shake. For him to have to go through that and I’m not there with him is upsetting for both of us.
“A more cheerful environment would make a big difference. More light would be good. It feels quite medical and the seats are all packed together. I have felt a bit upset in the past and said to Ross, ‘I’m just popping outside a minute’, and I just go outside and get myself together,” says Maria.

Nick Hulme, Chief Executive of The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, said: “We are here today because of the fantastic work of the Woolverstone Wish team and I am so looking forward to taking this forward with the amazing support of our national partner Macmillan Cancer Support.”

Gwyneth Tyler, Macmillan Senior Development Manager for Suffolk, said: “In 2013 more than 10,500 people were treated by the day unit at Ipswich Hospital. This number is expected to keep rising by 180 people a year. As the cancer story in Suffolk changes and becomes more complex, it is more important than ever that we, together with our partner Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust and passionate fundraisers like the Woolverstone Wish fundraising group, strive even harder to ensure better lives for everyone affected by cancer. We are absolutely delighted to be able to announce news of the Woolverstone Macmillan Centre and would urge everyone to support the fundraising appeal launched today.”

Cheryl Thayer, who has been chairman of the Woolverstone Wish appeal1 for the past five years, said: “I am overjoyed and humbled that people in Suffolk have already helped Woolverstone Wish raise more than £770,000. The dream of The Woolverstone Macmillan Centre can now become a reality if we redouble our efforts and continue to work hard together.”

Dr Lynne Wigens, Director of Nursing and Quality at Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, said: “When we started to look at the new design, with Macmillan and the architect, it almost gave me goose bumps to think it could be so lovely for people. It’s a difficult time for people when they have to receive treatment and I think people deserve a really nice environment.”

Mandy Jordan, Fundraising Manager for Macmillan, urged people across Suffolk to join the fundraising effort for the new centre. She said “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.”

People wishing to support the £3.7million fundraising appeal are being urged to call Macmillan on 0300 1000 200 or visit the special Woolverstone Macmillan Centre appeal page www.macmillan.org.uk/ipswich

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