The Trinity Holstic Centre will need to find an additional £2,200 this year – to replace two beds that have broken down in the last week.
More than 100 patients a month suffering from cancer and other long-term conditions could miss out on complementary therapies, after the two beds broke down within days.
Some treatments, such as acupuncture and aromatherapy, cannot be carried out without the special beds with electrical controls.
These therapies – and others provided at the centre such as reflexology – help support patients through clinical treatment for cancer, as they can ease some symptoms and side effects, including anxiety and nausea.
Now the centre, which already relies on charity funds to provide the £350,000 a year it needs to keep it going, will have to find another £2,200 to replace the specialist beds.
Although this will not affect patients’ appointments for their conventional treatments, many were upset to see their complementary treatments cancelled – especially as attending the centre also offers them a safe and comfortable place to relax or socialise with others going through a similar experience.
Maureen Walker, 71, from Eston, had surgery and chemotherapy for ovarian cancer at The James Cook University Hospital last year and more recent chemotherapy for bowel cancer.
She now benefits from auricular acupuncture at the centre, which helps manage symptoms like hot flushes.
“You meet and make friends with so many other people who are going through the same thing as you – we are all in the same boat and it’s a lovely, friendly place to be,” said Maureen.
“If they don’t have these beds operating and they have to turn people away, it’s not nice for people as they are losing that support. People will really feel it.
“Hopefully, somebody will do something to get it going again as quickly as possible, because it’s such a wonderful place to come to.”
Helen Boal, 52, of Great Ayton, has been a patient at the centre since having a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery for breast cancer in 2011.
Helen, who is implementation manager for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The lack of beds is going to limit the range of treatments available for people.
“There is a huge demand for the service and now, there will be people they are not going to be able to accommodate.
“Some of those might be having a really bad time – one of those times when they are more down than they are at others – and they won’t be able to come in and use the service.”
Helen McLean, business manager of the Trinity Holistic Centre, said the number of people accessing its services increased to more than 2,100 in the last financial year, inevitably causing wear and tear to equipment.
“We are doing everything we can to minimise the impact on patients, but whilst these therapy beds are out of action, more than 100 patients per month will be unable to access our highly valued massage and acupuncture clinics,” she said.
“Ensuring we have the safest and most appropriate therapy beds for many of our vulnerable patients is, unfortunately, incredibly expensive.
“We are now expecting to need to source an additional £2,200 to replace these beds to continue to provide support to the families accessing our services when they need us most.
“As a small charity seeking to ensure as much money as possible goes directly to fund patient care, the cost of replacing broken equipment can be hugely prohibitive and replacing two therapy beds is a massive financial challenge against our ongoing fundraising requirements.” Since 2003, Trinity Holistic Centre has provided valuable complementary therapies to support South Tees Hospitals patients being treated for cancer and their carers. Its full range of therapy services now include reiki, clinical hypnotherapy, meditation, bra and wig fitting, counselling and carer support. Since January 2014, the centre has been expanding to include a bedside service, with patients able to enjoy 15-minute hand, foot or head massages to help relax them and brighten the days that they need to stay in hospital.
About the Trinity Holistic Centre
Since 2003, Trinity Holistic Centre has provided valuable complementary therapies to support South Tees Hospitals patients being treated for cancer and their carers. Its full range of therapy services now include reiki, clinical hypnotherapy, meditation, bra and wig fitting, counselling and carer support. Since January 2014, the centre has been expanding to include a bedside service, with patients able to enjoy 15-minute hand, foot or head massages to help relax them and brighten the days that they need to stay in hospital.