Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Parents fight to stop cancer hospital being stripped of children's services

Thousands of people have signed a petition to keep a children's cancer unit open in south London.

The NHS is reviewing services at the Oak Centre for Children and Young People at the Royal Marsden in Sutton.

The hospital doesn't have its own children's intensive care unit and a recent review suggested that for safety, if they can't build one, the whole unit is moved a 30 minute drive away to St George's in Tooting or the Evelina Childen's Hospital in Westminster.

George being treated at the Royal Marsden in Sutton

George has spent many days and weeks at the Royal Marsden. His parents say they are struggling to cope with the added stress of the situation.

At a time in our lives which is already unbelievably difficult to add that extra layer is the final edge to push you over.

At The Royal Marsden they are on the site with The Institute of Cancer Research. To pull that apart and separate the two it's almost going to send childhood cancer research backwards.

– Vicki Woodall, George's mum

It's not just the expertise that concerns parents but the logistics and costs.

If you look at the Evelina or St George's there are transport issues there. When you have an immunocompromised child it's very difficult to use public transport, you have to drive into central London.

– James Woodall, George's dad

The unit was only opened nine years ago but the NHS now has six months to look at its options, balancing safety, risks, benefits and costs, while the unit would prefer to stay put.

I would say to NHS England that it must be the Marsden and that whatever the decision it must not create new risks for patients and families but actually enhance the care journey.

– Carly Snowball, Divisional Nurse Director, Cancer Services

A lot of us are either grieving for a lost child or trying to get our lives back together or are still under treatment.

Trying to do all of that at the same time and petition for your hospital to stay open while all this is going on - we need help, we need people's help"

– Vicky Woodall, George's mum

To read more about the 'It Must Be Marsden' campaign, click here.