CAMBS: Cancer unit needs your help to expand

The plans for the Woodlands Centre at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

The plans for the Woodlands Centre at Hinchingbrooke Hospital. - Credit: Archant

JOIN our appeal to help provide improved facilities for cancer patients in Huntingdonshire.

The Woodlands Centre at Hinchingbrooke Hospital needs more room to meet the demands from patients having chemotherapy and blood transfusions.

But up to £1million will be needed to fund the expansion, which will provide an extra clinic room and additional space to give chemotherapy to an increasing number of patients.

Since opening in 1998, the unit has seen demand increase – between 2008 and 2011 alone patient numbers were up by 20 per cent, from 3,864 to 4,645.

Manager at the Woodland Centre Linda Hall told The Hunts Post: “The idea is to increase the size of the unit. Currently we have two clinic rooms, a chemotherapy room that has six chairs and smallish waiting room.

“We want to add an extra clinic room and be able to provide 15 chairs for people having chemotherapy. This would mean having a new build at the end of the unit and refurbishing the existing space.

“For the last couple of years we have been having to use the Treatment Centre for patients needing blood transfusions because we do not have the space to treat them. There can also be delays for people waiting for chemotherapy.”

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A new consultant is to start at the unit this summer and that could see another increase in patient numbers as the unit’s range of treatments expands and more people are saved from having to make a return to trip to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

“The consultant will be starting in June and lung and GI (gastrointestinal) cancer will be added to the cancers which can be treated here. T and this will see extra numbers coming through to us,” said Mrs Hall.

She added that the expansion and reconfiguration work would cost between £800,000 and £1m – the designs have been drawn up and the final cost is being put together. The unit expects to take about two years to reach that target.

But with money tight in the NHS, staff and supporters of the unit are themselves raising the money towards the scheme.

“We’re looking at raising the majority of that sum,” Mrs Hall said.

The fundraising has already started. In December staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital raised £4,500 through a fashion show to raise awareness of male cancers, and a charity concert in St Ives added £1,500.

The latest fundraiser added a further £727 when a group of friends – Tony and Val Abram, John and Susan Cornhill, and Clive and Natalie Richardson – who are fans of the Last of the Summer Wine decided to go to Holmfirth where the television programme was filmed.

Mrs Cornhill had the idea of combining a weekend away with raising some money and a sponsored walk was arranged – ... with the friends dressed as characters from the show.

And there are plenty of other events coming up to support the extension fund.

The Hunts Post has adopted the extension project as a fundraising campaign and will be lending the scheme its support until the project is opened and Huntingdonshire has the cancer treatment facilities it needs.

Editor Andy Veale said: “We all know people – friends and family members – who have been diagnosed with cancer and we have seen first hand how the treatment of this disease can take over a patient’s life. Making that treatment a little easier for patients by providing improved facilities at the Woodlands Centre – close to their homes – is a cause that we at The Hunts Post feel is worth supporting.

“The economic downturn does mean that public services are not awash with money and it therefore becomes an opportunity for Huntingdonshire to show its community credentials and get behind this essential cause.

“We want readers to help with the fundraising by holding an event – big or small – and make a donation. Just make sure you let us know what you have planned.”

INFORMATION: The Woodland Centre also accommodates complementary therapy, psychological support and out-patient clinics for breast, haematology, oncology, lymphoedema and palliative care patients. If you have a fundraising idea contact Karen Pryor at the Woodlands Centre on 01480 416283. You can also e-mail