Therapy pioneer gives new Teesside service his seal of approval

Posted on in Hospitals, Research

A pioneer of complementary therapy in the NHS is visiting Middlesbrough to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a unique centre.

Holistic cancer care centre James Cook lrFor 20 years Keith Hunt has run a massage therapy service at the Royal Free Hospital in London. Starting initially with cancer patients, the service now provides 21,000 bedside massages a year throughout the hospital – giving a welcome treat to patients aged from five to 101.

Keith, who earlier this year received an MBE for his services to complementary therapy, will visit the holistic cancer care centre at The James Cook University Hospital on Wednesday 11 December to demonstrate the massage technique that will soon be on offer to patients in Middlesbrough.

Professor Tricia Hart, chief executive of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the centre, said: “Keith’s passion for providing compassionate care is infectious. He has demonstrated how this bedside treat can be of such a benefit to patients, whatever their condition, and we are excited about emulating his success here at South Tees.”

The15 minute bedside massage service will begin in January 2014 on two wards at the hospital where patients with cancer receive care, but the trust hopes that in line with Keith’s service it will quickly expand across the hospital using a mix of trained therapists and volunteers.

Mr Hunt will be demonstrating his skills at the centre as part of a Christmas celebration that will showcase a host of other changes that have been going on at the centre in recent months.

Visitors to the Christmas celebration will be able to admire phase one of the refurbished interior that was recently completed thanks to funding from South Tees Hospital Charity, and see the unveiling of a new sponsors sculpture designed to publicly acknowledge the service’s biggest fundraisers.

The event will also mark the re-naming of the centre – The Trinity Holistic Centre – in line with the trust’s policy to give buildings on the hospital site a name linked to the explorer Captain James Cook.

Professor Hart said: “The centre has played an important role in supporting people through their cancer treatment over the last ten years, so it’s right that we should be celebrating a decade of care. But we are always looking at ways we can improve the care we offer and the new name emphasises our commitment that the holistic service should support patients, carers and staff mind, body and spirit.”

Although the trust runs the centre, the services it offers – including the new bedside massage service – are largely funded by charitable donations, and Professor Hart added: “Local people have been tremendously generous to the centre since its opening and we hope that they will continue to support our plans to help even more people through their treatment for cancer. The more donations we receive the more treats, like the bedside massage, we can provide.”

The Christmas celebration will be held between 12 noon and 2pm and anyone with an interest in the trust’s holistic service is welcome to attend.