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  1. ITV Report

First patients treated at new cancer unit in Colchester

  • Watch our report from Russell Hookey

The first patients are being treated at The Collingwood Centre at Colchester Hospital after five years of fundraising by the Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity.

It's been named in honour of a local family who contributed a million pounds towards the £3.25 million cost of the facility. The rest came from hundreds of smaller donations.

The centre is on the first floor of the main hospital block and sits above Radiotherapy. It brings that service, chemotherapy and haematology under one roof for the first time at the hospital.

First patients treated at new cancer unit in Colchester Credit: ITV Anglia

Previously patients attended the Mary Barron Suite and the Haematology Day Unit but The Collingwood Centre is more modern, comfortable and welcoming, providing a significantly better experience for patients, their families and carers.

Maureen Bennett has received treatment for Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and Breast Cancer in the old facilities and thinks the new unit is a big improvement:

"This by comparison to before is much more spacious, but still the same lovely people"

– Maureen Bennett
Maureen Bennett chats to reporter Russell Hookey Credit: ITV Anglia

Previously patients attended the Mary Barron Suite and the Haematology Day Unit but The Collingwood Centre is more modern, comfortable and welcoming, providing a significantly better experience for patients, their families and carers.

It's very much a bigger unit, a bigger space, so they're not so cramped together. We work in pods of four, so hopefully that gives the experience of being more private, so we're ensuring dignity and privacy for patients and it's more modern, it doesn't feel like a hospital, it feels more like a private area you're going to than an NHS hospital."

– Karen Buckland, Collingwood Centre
First patients treated at new cancer unit in Colchester Credit: ITV Anglia

Along with a positive reaction from patients staff say the centre is easier to work in although some say they are still finding their way around.

The opening brings the quality of cancer treatment facilities in Colchester up to that of Ipswich Hospital which saw a similar unit open in 2014 with the help of Macmillan Cancer Support.