People living with cancer in North East London attended an event at The Royal London Hospital this week to celebrate the 25-year partnership between Barts Health, the Trust which runs The Royal London Hospital, and Macmillan to improve the experience of cancer care.
The event was also attended by staff from The Royal London Hospital and Macmillan, as well as Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group. It was an opportunity to hear first-hand from those being treated in the borough about what’s working well and what would improve their experience.
Over the last 25 years, Macmillan has invested £6.5 million into the partnership with Barts Health to support those living with cancer in North East London, including £1.5 million in 2018. This money has been used to fund specialist roles and provide practical support to local patients.
3,000 people undergo tests for suspected cancer each month in Barts NHS Health Trust and over 800 people suspected of having cancer undergo tests and investigations at The Royal London Hospital every month. The hospital also provides treatment for cancer including surgery and supportive care and a team of specialist nurses and doctors supporting people living with cancer
Sharon Smith, age 42 from Romford, received support and treatment for cancer at The Royal London Hospital, ran by Barts Health NHS Trust. Sharon said: “I remember first finding a strange spot on my arm which was itchy and would bleed a lot. After some tests I was told I had Stage 3 malignant melanoma, a skin cancer. I was very shocked and I found it very hard knowing I would have surgery and treatment. The doctors and nurses at The Royal London Hospital were so kind and caring, many of these were Macmillan professionals, and that helped.
“I have a young daughter and I was not sure what to say to her about having cancer but I turned to Macmillan for support and they guided me in what to say.I became very low after my treatment and with Macmillan’s’ support I was able to go away for a few days’ break.
“I still have to have regular check-ups but can now think about the future. I am disappointed that I can no longer return to my previous job as a veterinary nurse due to the risk of being bitten or scratched hurting my arm from where I had surgery. However, I want to give something back to others like me and I would like to retrain in human adult nursing so I can give back to the hospital that saved my life and to help other patients to get better.”
Dr Barry Quinn, Macmillan Director of Nursing for Cancer and Palliative Care at Barts Health NHS Trust, says: “It’s estimated that one in two people born after 1960 will be diagnosed with cancer but, thanks to partnerships like these, more people are getting the support they need. Barts Health is delighted to work with Macmillan to ensure that patient-led, compassionate care is at the heart of the service we offer to people affected by cancer in North East London.”