The Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre at Wexham Park Hospital has celebrated five years of supporting local cancer patients and their families.
The centre, located in the main entrance of the hospital, has so far provided over 6,000 cancer patients with emotional support as well as practical information such as financial advice.
Sir Andrew Morris, chief executive at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said: ‘The Macmillan cancer centre is one of the things that makes Wexham Park Hospital so special. The extra support the staff and volunteers provide to our patients when they are going through some of the most difficult periods of their lives is impossible to overestimate.
‘I’m delighted to take part in the fifth anniversary celebrations because we are so lucky to have this centre here.’
Nicola Neale, who has managed the centre since it opened, said: ‘I am so proud that the centre has reached five years of helping local people with cancer. The team I work with, including Tricia, the information assistant, and our amazing volunteers, do a fantastic job supporting patients and their families during one of the most difficult times of their lives.
‘I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has volunteered and supported us over the last five years. It would not have been possible without them.’
The centre was recently assessed as meeting the Macmillan Quality Volunteering Standards (MQVS) and has achieved the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark (MQEM) for the second time in five years.
Steve Jackson, 56, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2013 at Wexham Park Hospital. He said: ‘The consultant started the conversation with “I'm sorry Mr Jackson...” and from that point on I kind of stopped listening because I knew it wasn't going to be good news. It took a long time to sink in.
‘But one of the most important things I did was go through that door to the Macmillan centre. That’s why I would personally like to thank Nicola and her team. I don't think people realise how far Macmillan reaches. Until you're diagnosed and you need those resources, like information on what happens after your treatment, you don't realise what support is out there.’
The top three concerns the centre encountered in 2016 from patients were money worries (29% of visitors and calls were about finances); cancer treatment, symptoms and side effects-related issues (16%); and psychological and emotional support (15%).