New cancer centre doubles number of chemo patients treated

Meet the staff at north Norfolk's new £4.85m cancer centre

Part of the team at the North Norfolk Macmillan Centre, from left, Anita Martins, Emma Smerdon, Chris Grayston, Roger Bracey and Wendy Marchant. - Credit: Supplied by Macmillan

More than twice the number of chemotherapy patients are being treated at Cromer Hospital than this time last year, thanks to its new North Norfolk Macmillan Centre.

And there are fresh plans to expand the services on offer at the £4.85m centre, which started treating patients in September and was officially opened in October

Chris Grayston, operational manager at Cromer Hospital, which is part of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, said: "Since we opened, we’ve been able to offer additional sessions to patients from the oncology specialist nurse service which has used the new space at Cromer to deliver its service for an extra day each week.  

"In terms of diagnosing and treating skin cancers, we’ve been able to increase the number of dermatology outpatient clinics we run, as well as increase the amount of minor surgery we perform for dermatology."

Work is nearing completion of the £4.8m cancer centre at Cromer Hospital, which begin treating patients from mid-August.

The new cancer centre at Cromer Hospital. - Credit: Macmillan Cancer Support

The hospital had been treating chemotherapy patients since 2014, but the new centre's six treatment chairs have allowed it to greatly expand its capacity from the one day a week which was previously offered there. 

The centre saw 377 patients for chemotherapy between September and November 2020 - a 114pc increase over the same time period in 2019, when 176 patients were treated.

Mr Grayston said that now that the centre had made a good start, the focus was now on expanding its services. 

He said: "The first step is to offer a wider range of chemotherapy treatments, so that more patients in north Norfolk can receive their care with us and avoid long journeys to Norwich.  

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"Providing patients with more choice about where they can be treated is helping to meet the increased demand for cancer care and relieving pressure on the main chemotherapy unit at the N&N Hospital.

“After that, the next step is to offer prostate biopsies at Cromer using the new facilities and we’re planning to roll out this service before the spring."

In December, The Cromer Community and Hospital Friends donated £665,000 to pay for new equipment at the centre after a long-running fundraising campaign.

It is estimated the need for cancer services in north Norfolk could rise by more than 200pc over the next 10 years.

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