September 2019 Breakfast Briefing

Date: 12 Sep 2019

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The news that Milton Keynes University Hospital’s dedicated cancer centre will open its doors in December will come as a welcome relief to the 4,000 residents of the city who are diagnosed with the disease each year.

Despite an increase in the number of people who survive cancer, the UK is still falling behind other high-income countries, and the announcement of this analysis was released on the same day that MK Hospital Chair, Simon Lloyd, updated Milton Keynes Business Leaders (MKBLP) on the new cancer centre.

Currently, many cancer patients from the local Milton Keynes area drive miles for treatment due to the limited resources at Milton Keynes Hospital. Following the new cancer centre’s imminent opening, Mr Lloyd stressed his ambition for the hospital to become a recognised centre of excellence for cancer services in the UK.

“So many of our patients are being sent further afield for treatment as our current cancer unit is crowded, with many oncology resources located within different parts of the building. The new Cancer Centre will not only see all cancer services, apart from breast screening, contained within one building but will mean that all oncology staff will be working together, which will improve efficiency and working conditions.”

The opening of the new unit will also see the creation of a new 24 bed oncology ward. “Effectively we will be freeing up a ward within the main hospital and, due to the cancer centre opening in winter, this could not come at a better time due to the increased number of patients we admit during the flu season.”

The hospital already holds the largest private art collection in Milton Keynes, and Mr Lloyd stressed that art would be a continuing theme within the new centre: “We are building a state-of-the-art unit dedicated to delivering cancer services, however we also want to create a relaxed environment for patients by incorporating artwork, video displays and a landscaped garden.”

Consequently, while the centre is largely funded through Government investment and a £2 million donation from MacMillan, Mr Lloyd stressed that a further £2.5 million is currently being raised to enhance the patient’s experience. “The NHS budget will only stretch so far, but it is vital that we continue to fundraise to ensure that we create the best experience that we possibly can for cancer patients who are treated at Milton Keynes Hospital.”

While patients receiving radiotherapy are currently driving to Oxford to receive treatment, Mr Lloyd expressed his desire to eventually bring this service to Milton Keynes too.

The population of Milton Keynes is significantly increasing, and the number of patients admitted to the hospital is rising year on year: “Outpatient appointments was up 8% last year, with 90,000 people came into A&E for treatment.”

Fully aware of the increasing demand on it services, the opening of the cancer centre is demonstrative that the hospital is making great strides to ensure that it can provide a high level of service that local residents, and those from the surrounding areas, can rely upon.

Milton Keynes Business Leaders attended a breakfast briefing within the Academic Centre at Milton Keynes University Hospital, followed by a tour of the new cancer centre.