Eastbourne PCaSO support group members were among the guests at the opening of the Eastbourne Radiotherapy Unit on the evening of 26 February. Dr Fiona Mckinna, Consultant and Lead Clinician for Oncology at the Sussex Cancer Centre, said in her introduction that the unit had been a long time coming. In fact ten years but the people of East Sussex now have a facility which means they no longer have to travel to Brighton or Maidstone for radiotherapy.
The Eastbourne group contributed just over £13,000 toward the patient furniture in the reception areas and consulting rooms. The furniture was selected in consultation with group members, the manufacturer and architect when they visited the hospital with a mobile ‘showroom’ in August 2016.
The Mayor of Eastbourne Pat Hearn and MP Stephen Lloyd were invited guests together with representatives from Elekta, the Crawley manufacturer of the state of the art linear accelerators. The Eastbourne unit now has two of these machines, each costing £1.5 million, together with a new CT scanner and is already treating 40 patients a day. Special mention was also given to David Bold and Arnold Goldman who remained on the project reference group throughout to ensure the voice of patients and the public was heard.
Tom Chaplin, lead singer of the pop group Keane, opened the unit and then played and sang a few songs. His father received radiotherapy treatment at the unit. He later posed for photographs including with members of the Eastbourne group: Debbie and Chris who run the group together with Ron and Jenny Linkins who distribute the PCaSO newsletter Updates.
The Eastbourne group was delighted to be part of the event and used some of its allocated invitations to ensure a few of the group’s fundraisers could be included. Further information about the unit and the opening event can be found on the Eastbourne Herald website. Although the unit is at Eastbourne District General Hospital, the capital project was managed by Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and is part of the radiotherapy provision for the Sussex Cancer Centre. See https://www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/news/video-new-eastbourne-cancer-treatment-unit-opened-by-popstar-1-8395591