The new Oncology and Haematology Unit at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI), was officially opened by Mayor of Lancaster, Roger Dennison, who thanked staff for caring for him and his wife Glenys when they both had cancer.
Roger and Cat Smith, MP, cut the ribbon watched by Glenys, Chief Executive Aaron Cummins, Medical Director Miss Jane McNicholas, a large crowd of patients, staff, former colleagues, charities and other special guests on Friday 2 February.
It was a particularly moving moment as both Roger and Glenys had been patients of the Oncology and Haematology Service in the last few years.
Roger said: “We’re still here and still standing thanks to the staff. I had prostate cancer and I was fortunate that it was caught early and could be treated. My experience shows the importance of getting checked and having an early diagnosis. It’s an honour and a privilege to have opened the new unit. It’s a fantastic unit and we’re lucky to have it in our area.”
Robin Wilson, Unit Manager for the Oncology and Haematology Service in Lancaster and Kendal, said it was wonderful to see the “great and the good” of the Oncology Service from years gone by who opened up the RLI’s original Oncology Unit.
Robin said: “Our Capital Services Team has been absolutely brilliant, getting the unit to this fantastic build that we’ve got today. I’d like to thank my team and our doctors – they’ve been so patient and so supportive over the last four years.”
The RLI’s team temporarily moved to the Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect patients from infection. The Kendal service has now gone back to operating two days a week, as it did before the pandemic.
Dr Sarah Moon thanked patients, staff and Sister Sue Procter in particular, as she had signed off the original plans for the new unit at the RLI.
The light, bright and sensitively designed unit opened for patients on Monday 5 February and is located in the former Ward 3 in Medical Unit 1 (MU1) of the hospital. It is open from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday and approximately 50 to 70 patients will have treatment in the unit every day from Monday to Friday.
An additional 12 to 15 patients will have blood tests and reviews per day. There are 10 clinic rooms and the Outpatient Clinics will see approximately 213 Oncology patients and 253 Haematology patients each week. The design incorporates views of local woodlands and has a soft green colour palette.
Bay Hospitals Charity funded items including chemotherapy chairs, furniture for the quiet room, waiting room furniture, TVs for waiting areas, kitchen equipment and artwork for the walls to further improve the experience of care for patients.
Keri Gee, Service Manager for Oncology and Haematology, thanked medical, nursing, Capital Services and administrative colleagues for their wonderful support and said: “There has been a lot of hard work and dedication, and it has come together brilliantly.”