Kettering General Hospital is celebrating the 10th
anniversary of its cancer care unit the Centenary Wing with a party at the Wing on Friday, June 4, from 3pm.
The unit treated its first patients on June 5, 2000, and since then has provided in excess of 50,000 treatments for patients with cancer or other blood disorders.
The Centenary Wing was built following a £650,000 community two year fundraising campaign supported by the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph.
Thousands of local people raised money for the unit in a very wide variety of ways including unusual ones such as a sponsored wheel chair push and a hospital porter who dressed as a scarecrow in a field for four hours.
And in 2010-2011 the Centenary Wing will be going from strength to strength by significantly expanding the range of chemotherapy and other treatments it offers to cancer patients.
This is likely to mean – over the next year – that the Centenary Wing will treat at least an extra 250 cancer patients as part of a national plan to see as many patients as possible closer to their homes. This figure is due to increase year on year.
Patricia Perkins, from Great Addington, became the Appeal’s Chairman in 1996.
Working with a 15-strong Committee made up of local people and KGH staff she spent countless hours promoting the Appeal and supporting the fundraising.
She said: “We launched the Appeal in 1996 because we knew that facilities for cancer patients at Kettering General Hospital were unsatisfactory.
“People with cancer were waiting and receiving treatment in a busy medical assessment unit and we knew that we could improve care considerably if we could have a purpose-built and private area dedicated solely to cancer care.
“In 1996 it was a dream but thanks to the efforts of thousands of local people and businesses, the support of the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph, and the efforts of our own staff and the Appeal Committee we were able to turn that dream into a reality by 2000.
“Now, ten years later, I am very pleased to see that the Centenary Wing and all its staff have continued to improve care for patients and now offer more treatments than ever before.”
Haematology clinical nurse specialist Andrea Squires was actively involved in the Appeal and has seen just how important the Centenary Wing has become for local people over the last ten years.
She said: “The work load on the Centenary Wing has grown significantly over the years.
“In our first year we treated on average 8 patients per day and currently see an average of 32 patients per day – an average increase of 400% in outpatient treatments.
“This is down to a number of factors such as the growth of the local population, the growing proportion of older people in the community and because we are expanding of range treatments that we are offering at KGH.”
Lead nurse for chemotherapy services,Emma Mills, said: “Since the Wing was established we have significantly increased the range of treatments which are available to patients at KGH. We have also been able to increase the number of patients who have their outpatient appointments at KGH, reducing the amount that have to travel to neighbouring hospitals for medical reviews either prior to, as part of or after their treatment has finished.
“Initially the Wing treated patients with blood conditions and some limited breast cancer and bowel cancer treatments.
“Now, ten years on, we have increased the chemotherapy and supportive treatments available to these patients and also have the capacity to provide treatments for patients with lung, gynaecological, gastrointestinal and urological cancers.
“This reduces the need for patients to travel to county Cancer Centres such as Northampton General Hospital and means that people can see staff who they get to know in an environment that is close to their home.”