All local cancer patients could benefit from exciting plans to improve the holistic service at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
For ten years patients under the care of a specialist cancer consultant (oncologist) have been benefiting from therapies, ranging from reiki massage to acupuncture, provided to support people through their conventional cancer treatment.
Now as the service based in the holistic cancer care centre on the hospital site prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary later this year, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has unveiled plans to support more patients with cancer.
Deborah Jenkins, trust chairman, said: “In the past we have had to limit the service to those patients under the care of an oncologist. But we know that there are many more people who come to our regional cancer centre for treatment who are cared for by other staff, and so they don’t currently benefit from the holistic service.”
“We want all patients with cancer to get the same high level of care and believe that holistic therapies and support have an important role to play in helping them through their conventional cancer treatment.”
Using best practice from other parts of the country, detailed plans are being worked up to offer all patients with cancer who need to stay in hospital for treatment a bedside hand, foot or head massage. Outpatients will benefit from a range of other therapies, depending on demand, and the service will also be open to carers and staff.
The trust also plans to refurbish and update the centre as Ms Jenkins explains: “The centre is a lovely building and we want to encourage its greater use as a place to promote and enhance the wellbeing of patients, carers and staff alike.”
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the service, hopes the improvements will be so popular with patients with cancer that in the future it could be opened up to patients with other illnesses or conditions that could benefit from holistic therapies
The service is partially funded by charitable donations and Ms Jenkins, who also chairs South Tees Hospitals Charity, said: “The people of Teesside have been incredibly generous to the service over the last ten years, both in terms of raising money and also volunteering, and I hope that they will continue to support it as we work towards offering this valuable service to more people with cancer.”