East Surrey Hospital gets Macmillan cancer support unit

Artist's impression Image copyright East Surrey Hospital
Image caption The £1.5m cancer support centre has received planning consent

A cancer support unit is to be built at East Surrey Hospital to complement its new £10m radiotherapy unit.

The £1.5m Macmillan Cancer Information Support Centre has received planning consent and NHS managers are working out when construction can start.

Hospital chief Michael Wilson said it would "revolutionise" patients' lives.

He said the hospital in Redhill would offer a new range of services including advice, counselling and alternative therapies for the first time.

Mr Wilson said services at the centre, which is a partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, would also include psychological therapies, information on welfare and benefits, and exercise classes.

The radiotherapy unit which opened in July had allowed patients to be treated closer to home, and the information centre would offer them a holistic approach to their condition, he said.

Mr Wilson, chief executive of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said chemotherapy could be debilitating and having to travel for radiotherapy could be horrific.

"To have all of those things in east Surrey and north east West Sussex for our whole population is absolutely fantastic," he added.

Papers submitted to Reigate Council, where councillors approved plans on Wednesday, said the centre would help cancer patients and their families and provide a vital community facility.

The single-storey building will have a large reception and information area, smaller therapy rooms, quiet rooms, an activity room, and a garden.

According to Macmillan Cancer Support, nearly 5,000 people in Surrey are told they have cancer each year.

The charity will shortly launch a fundraising campaign for the £1.5m to build the centre.

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