A new Macmillan cancer information area in the main reception of Furness General Hospital was officially opened by the Mayor of Barrow and a man living with cancer who is now a volunteer for the service.
Mayor Bill McEwan and Dave Hyde, both from Barrow, said they were delighted to cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the Macmillan information ‘pod’ on Monday 11 March.
The welcoming and colourful pod is already making a difference to cancer patients when they have everything from investigations and diagnosis to treatment and final discharge at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT).
Patients and members of the public can pop into the pod during the hospital’s opening hours of 6am to 10pm to pick up information or chat to a friendly volunteer about any concerns or issues.
Jez Such, Macmillan’s Partnership Manager for Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “It is superb to be here on such a historic occasion and to celebrate the partnership work between Macmillan and UHMBT.
“It’s great to be able to offer a further service to people affected by cancer. A total of £190,000 will be spent on this project over the next two years.
“There are two new posts – Lorraine Jones is the new Macmillan Information and Support Manager and Jo Gardner is the Macmillan Information and Support Service Assistant. We also have 14 volunteers.
“There is a real need for this sort of service. There are 2.5 million people with cancer in the UK and, as people are living longer, researchers estimate that one in two of us are likely to receive a cancer diagnosis in our lifetime.
“More locally, the figures are important. We know there are 500 cancer diagnoses a year in this area. Incidences in the Furness are greater than in other parts of Morecambe Bay. Incidences in Morecambe Bay are also higher than the English average.
“There is clearly a pressing need for information and support in this area.”
Foluke Ajayi, Chief Operating Officer for UHMBT, thanked everyone for attending the event and said teams had worked hard behind the scenes to get the project up and running. She said each of the Trust’s three hospitals now had a Macmillan pod and the unit at Barrow was the busiest.
Lorraine Jones, Macmillan Information and Support Manager for the Trust, said: “The pod has been open since November and we have had some really great feedback from patients.
“Since the pod at Barrow opened in November we have seen more than 200 people. We’re very pleased with how the service is running.”
Jo Gardner, Macmillan Information and Support Service Assistant, added: “The pod has definitely had a good uptake. Some people are just passing by and others have been ‘signposted’ to us. It’s for everyone affected by cancer. We listen to people and signpost them to the appropriate services.”
The event was also attended by special guests including Pauline Robinson, Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse for UHMBT, Shahnaz Asghar, Partnerships Governor for the Trust, Judith McEwan, Mayoress of Barrow and Sue McDonald, Fundraising Manager for Macmillan in Cumbria as well as members of the public and volunteers.