£2.2m haemotology unit opens to patients at Northampton General Hospital

PATIENTS treated in the new Macmillan Haematology Suite, which opened its doors at Northampton General Hospital today, will have more privacy and dignity, and be more comfortable for patients than the old unit, hospital staff have said.

The £2.2 million unit – which will treat patients with blood cancers, such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma – has been the subject of an 18-month fund-raising campaign by the Chronicle & Echo and Macmillan Cancer Support, for which about £700,000 is still needed to fund the project.

Tony Willerton, patient representative on the project team, said the new build was much improved from the old unit. He said: “The old treatment area was cramped and there were no toilet facilities so if you wanted to go to the toilet – as people undergoing chemotherapy often do because it can take up to two hours and it involves taking in a lot of fluids – they had to walk all the way through the waiting room with their drip.

“And it was a public toilet so we had vulnerable people having to walk through and use a toilet which anyone could use.

“Before, we had one bed in a treatment room that doubled up as a store room, and the counselling room doubled up as a staff room, but now we have more space, light and comfort, so the patients can be treated properly.”

Mr Willerton added: “What’s been achieved is absolutely incredible. The space, and the way in which the architect has used it, is absolutely brilliant, and we think patients will feel comfortable being treated here.

“The atmosphere created in the old unit by the staff was absolutely fantastic. They were there for patients 100 per cent, so I think they too really deserve something like this. They deserve a pleasant atmosphere to work in.”

Nurse Vicky Rodgers said staff were “thrilled” with the new unit. She said: “Now we can look after patients in the way we feel is appropriate.”