Sufferers welcome new cancer centre

PUBLISHED: 09:06 15 February 2007 | UPDATED: 21:34 29 May 2010

Symone White, looking a picture of health having come through breast cancer - Pic: Michael Boyton

Symone White, looking a picture of health having come through breast cancer - Pic: Michael Boyton

CANCER sufferers in Great Dunmow have welcomed plans to build a £55 million state-of-the-art treatment centre in Colchester. Work on the new oncology and pathology unit at the town s General Hospital could begin within 18 months and be opened by 2011. It

CANCER sufferers in Great Dunmow have welcomed plans to build a £55 million state-of-the-art treatment centre in Colchester.

Work on the new oncology and pathology unit at the town's General Hospital could begin within 18 months and be opened by 2011. It will be able to treat 684,000 people.

The majority of north and mid-Essex's cancer services are currently located at Colchester's Essex County Hospital.

But the Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust want the new centre built as there is no room for expansion at the current site,

the number of sufferers is

expected to increase as the population ages and it wants to see all its services centralised.

Symone White, a former cancer sufferer of Bambers Green, Takeley, was treated in St Margaret's Hospital in Epping and at Harlow's Princess Alexandra Hospital and believes the new centre would be great news.

"This news that a new specialist unit is going to be built is brilliant as it's not too far away for people to get to it," she said.

"Everybody around here will benefit greatly from it. If people can be treated under one roof like they were at Princess Alexandra Hospital's Rowan Ward and people can build up a rapport, then I'm all for it.

"I get the impression at the moment that people just don't seem to get the support we used to in Rowan Ward where we used to get loads of support. I think for this area the new centre would be a great thing to have."

Her comments were echoed by Susanne Davies, a trustee of the Neuroblastoma Society which has a branch in Dunmow, who said the new centre would be fantastic.

Neuroblastoma is a rare and aggressive childhood cancer and about 100 children in the UK are diagnosed each year, with most being under four years old.

The society was formed in 1982 and has raised funds for research into the disease.

She said: "It would be of great benefit to local people so that they can get good quality care under one roof as services in the area little spread out at the moment."

The trust's director of estates and facilities, David Hewitt, said the scheme, which is currently at the planning stage, would build on the good work carried out at Colchester General Hospital and bring cancer care in the area right up-to-date.

"This builds on all the good work done already and hopefully patients coming in will feel they have entered a 21st Century hospital that gives them a far more roomy, light and airy feel and a hospital that gives them, and relatives, increased levels of privacy and dignity," he said.

"The current set-up is quite cramped in the waiting area and if you are an inpatient, you may be in a shared bay with other people."

Mr Hewitt added the trust's key objectives were to provide modern and accessible patient-centred facilities, to meet current and future demand and to centralise acute services at the Colchester General Hospital site.

The trust met on Tuesday to formalise its plans and needs to get approval from both the North East Essex Primary Care Trust and the East of England Strategic Health Authority.

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