The £370,000 unit opened to patients last year and provides care for 16 to 24 year olds with cancer from across the West Midlands. It replaced the charity’s unit at the old Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and complements existing units at Birmingham Children’s and Royal Orthopaedic Hospitals. Young people diagnosed with cancer in the West Midlands now have a choice of where they receive their care, and have the opportunity to access a comprehensive range of services and facilities.
This unit includes twelve inpatient beds and will provide a home from home for many young people and their families. Unlike ‘ordinary’ hospital wards, it has a kitchen, quiet room, education room and an activities area including a digital jukebox and access to media facilities such as the internet, TV and music.
The unit, the charity’s third in the West Midlands, will bring young people together to be treated by teenage cancer experts in an environment tailored to their needs. Designed to feel like a home from home, the walls are bright, each room is individually styled, the furniture is funky and there’s always a place to watch films and surf the net. Combined with specialist nursing staff and a dedicated Youth Support Coordinator, the unit has everything to make a young person’s stay in hospital as comfortable as possible.
Every day in the UK, six young people are told they have cancer. Teenage Cancer Trust understands that teenage cancer requires specialist care, provided in an environment suited to their specific needs.
Teenage Cancer Trust funds specialist teenage cancer units in NHS hospitals that are designed to give teenagers the very best chance of a positive outcome. There are now currently 21 of these units across the country, including three in Birmingham. The charity plans to build a further 12 so that all young people needing hospital treatment for cancer across the UK have access to the dedicated, specialist support they provide.
Simon Fuller, Director of Services said “I’m delighted that Karen Lumley MP had the chance to visit the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the University Hospital Birmingham. The unique inpatient and educational facilities in this unit and its excellent staff represents what Teenage Cancer Trust is all about – that young people’s lives shouldn’t stop because they have cancer. We’re very grateful for Karen’s support, including fundraising and asking questions in Parliament about issues affecting young people with cancer.”
Karen said of the visit: “It was extremely interesting to visit and meet with specialists and patients at the hospital to gain a better understanding of the challenges they face dealing with such a difficult situation both personally and professionally. At times it was very difficult to hear about their journey with cancer and I was moved by the bravery, positive attitude, determination and excellent humor they each possessed in the face of such unfortunate circumstances.”
Donations are still needed for the upkeep of Teenage Cancer Trust’s unit and to provide services in the region – all donations can be sent to: Teenage Cancer Trust West Midlands Appeal, 3rd Floor, 93 Newman Street, London, W1T 3EZ.
For more information about Teenage Cancer Trust and how you can get involved, visit www.teenagecancertrust.org
Karen is pictured with Tracey Middle (Clinical Nurse Specialist), Daniel Saunders and Mathew Cooke.