A new £1.2million chemotherapy treatment centre at Broomfield Hospital has opened, which will allow more patients to be seen.

Karen Travis, 59, who has been a patient at Broomfield Hospital for the past 21 years, opened the new unit alongside Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Clare Panniker.

Karen has received five chemotherapy treatments during that time.

She said: “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.”

Dunmow Broadcast: The new chemotherapy reception area at Broomfield HospitalThe new chemotherapy reception area at Broomfield Hospital (Image: Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust)

The new area is larger than the previous one. There has been an increase in chemotherapy stations from 14 to 18 chairs and two beds, which means patients will receive their treatment more quickly. It will also give patients more space, privacy and dignity.

It 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.

“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.”

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

Karen said it was a big change to what she had experienced previously.

“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!”