Update: The Littleport service detailed below has been very successful for both patients and hospitals. Now local NHS bosses have proposed to extend this service to other parts of Fenland, particularly Wisbech.
“I think the concept of making chemotherapy available locally is absolutely brilliant. It gives patients the opportunity to come and have their treatment on the doorstep. In many ways it is more personal. It’s almost a one-to-one relationship between the patients and the nurses” Gary Shepherd, Practice Manager at Littleport’s St George’s Medical Centre
Cancer patients currently have to travel to hospital at Peterborough, Huntingdon or Kings Lynn. Many find the journey to hospital exhausting whilst undergoing treatment. In May 2014 I had the pleasure of opening a new local oncology unit at the St Georges Medical Centre in Littleport, which means cancer patients can be treated in Littleport by nurses travelling from Addenbrookes, rather than patients having to travel to Cambridge. Yet the same satellite service is still not available for nurses travelling from Peterborough to Whittlesey, from Hinchingbrooke to Doddington, or Kings Lynn to Wisbech. This suggests the service is being run more for the convenience of the hospital than for the benefit of the patient. We call on the oncology units at each of the other hospitals serving North East Cambridgeshire to provide satellite oncology services in the community, with Hinchingbrooke nurses providing oncology services at Doddington, Kings Lynn oncology nurses at North Cambs Hospital, and Peterborough Hospital oncology nurses at the New Queen Street GP Practice in Whittlesey.