Building work is under way on a new £625,000 Cancer Health and Wellbeing Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The new “state-of-the-art” unit, hopefully opening in April, will allow the King’s Lynn hospital to offer a wider range of support services to anyone diagnosed with the disease, including counselling and reflexology.
Partly funded by the QEH Charitable Fund, the centre is being built on the back of the existing Breast Cancer Unit in an area previously used for storage at the Gayton Road site.
Once completed, it will provide a “one-stop shop”, reducing the need for patients to travel to different sites, sometimes a considerable distance away, to access help.
The existing Macmillan Information Team is to relocate to the new centre and volunteers will be recruited to staff the unit in the next phase of the project, a QEH spokesman said.
Hospital chief executive Caroline Shaw said: “A diagnosis of cancer brings with it a whole host of often overwhelming challenges, not only clinical but also psychological stresses on wellbeing and everyday life.
“The development of a new Health and Wellbeing Centre at QEH will enable us to expand and strengthen access to our cancer services and provide the essential long-term support our patients deserve.”
Working with charities and other organisations, the Macmillan Information and Support Service already provides a range of these services for the hospital trust, with a specific focus on supporting the long-term emotional impact of cancer.
They include wig fittings, Help to Overcome Problems Effectively (HOPE) courses, access to support groups, financial information and general health and wellbeing events.
In the next phases of the project, the hospital is looking to provide holistic therapy and counselling at the new centre, which is designed to have a welcoming and homely feel.
Patients will be encouraged to drop in for a cup of tea and a chat, giving them the opportunity to speak openly with others about their cancer experiences.