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Patients’ key role in creation of new Macmillan Cancer Information Centre

Macmillan Cancer Support has opened a new information centre in the main entrance to Craigavon Area Hospital.

The leading cancer charity has also awarded its Quality Environment Mark to the hospital’s chemotherapy unit.

The new centre was officially opened today, Monday, by the Health Minister, Edwin Poots, who praised the staff and volunteers who have been trained to run the unit and become “cancer information champions”.

He said: “I know how important it is that people affected by cancer and their families get the information they need. Macmillan has been working with the Southern Health and Social Care Trust to improve cancer awareness in all sections of society and their partnership is key to the success of this project.”

In addition to the new hospital information centre, Macmillan leaflets have been made available to GP practices, health centres and community and support groups.

According to the Chair of the SHSCT, Roberta Brownlee, it’s all about getting the right information at the right time.

“This will enable people to make informed choices and get access to the services and support they need throughout their cancer journey,” she said.

The information centre has been designed with considerable input from patients.

When Barbara Bailie finished her treatment for breast cancer, she went along to a health and wellbeing event, where she was asked if she would like to join a cancer service user group.

She told the Health Minister: “We meet regularly and have been involved in the planning of the new centre and have helped staff draw up questionnaires to make sure they are asking the right questions.”

Craigavon’s chemotherapy unit has also been singled out for praise and a Macmillan Quality Environment Mark, or MQEM. This award recognises and rewards good practice and design in cancer care settings across the UK.

Congratulating the service and staff, the Chairman of Macmillan, Julia Palca, explained why the Mandeville Unit was being refurbished: “When you’re in the business of improving services – like Macmillan – you can never stand still. The chemotherapy unit is housed in what was the first Macmillan-funded hospital building in Northern Ireland. I’m delighted to see that, thirteen years on, it has maintained its high standards and will benefit from these new improvements.”

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