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Cancer patient helps shape look of new £1.2 million chemotherapy centre

Clare Panniker and Karen Travis

A new chemotherapy treatment centre at Broomfield Hospital has opened, and a cancer patient, who’s received care there for over 20 years, has helped with its design.

The state-of-the-art centre allows the hospital to see more cancer patients in a welcoming environment, whilst keeping them safely distanced, and Karen Travis, 59 from Broomfield, has helped with the £1.2 million project.

Karen has been a patient at Broomfield Hospital for the past 21 years, receiving five chemotherapy treatments during that time, so she felt it a great honour to be involved in the creation of the new unit. She officially opened it alongside Trust chief executive Clare Panniker.

“For me, and many other long term patients, the chemotherapy unit here at Broomfield has become like a second home, and all the staff here our extended family.

“I have witnessed many changes over the years but the care given here by all the team has always remained consistent: caring, cheerful and utterly professional.

“The opening of the new chemotherapy day unit, with its greater capacity to treat more patients in a comfortable, colourful, relaxed and happy environment, has brought new hope for the future.”

The new area is larger than the previous one, increasing the number of chemotherapy stations from 14 to 18 chairs and two beds, which means patients will receive their treatment more quickly. As well as giving them more space, it will also give patients more privacy and dignity.

It also includes an outpatient consultation suite with two consultation exam rooms and two interview rooms.

Lisa Villiers, Macmillan Nurse Consultant Chemotherapy at Broomfield, said: “We’ve really listened to patient feedback and they told us that they wanted a light and calming environment, a spacious waiting area and car parking next to the unit. It’s a really positive move and has created a more suitable environment to meet patient needs.

“It has given us more space to treat patients and help cut the waiting time for patients to start chemotherapy. I’m very grateful to Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity and Friends of Broomfield for their generous support in the purchase of patient furniture, which helps to provide a welcoming and relaxing space for our patients.”

The new centre also has a staff changing area, staff rest areas, toilets and staff offices, as well as its own chemotherapy preparation pharmacy room and a member of the pharmacy team based within the unit.

That’s a far cry from when Karen first attended the unit all those years ago. “Twenty-one years ago it all began for me in a room no bigger than my kitchen at home, with chairs for only four or five patients and the waiting area in a corridor. Look at what we have now!”

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