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New chemo unit officially opens

Rosen chemo unit opening

A newly refurbished chemotherapy day unit at Darlington Memorial Hospital has been officially opened, offering patients an improved environment and increasing capacity.

The Rosin Unit offers first class facilities enabling patients to be accompanied by relatives or friends during their treatment, a brighter, lighter environment with increased capacity for more patients, a new assessment bay and a bespoke reception area and nursing station.

Maureen Flatman, ward manager said: "We're absolutely thrilled with the Rosin Unit's transformation. The unit has a long and proud history for delivering the best quality treatment to our patients.

"The new chemotherapy service is well established and has continued to develop year on year. This year has been an exciting and challenging one and we're delighted to now beable to offer families the opportunity to stay with their loved ones during treatment, as well as providing a bright, clean and contemporary environment that lifts the mood of patients during what is a challenging time.

"It may seem a small thing but it makes such a difference to see how this helps patients. We have the right equipment in the right environment, and the new space makes things so much better for our patients helping their treatments and recoveries."

One patient who has benefitted from the Unit's transformation is 73-year-old, Brenda Drysdale, from Hurworth near Darlington. Having been diagnosed with myeloma (a form of blood cancer) in 2008, Brenda believes the refurbishment has helped to improve her experience of chemotherapy.

She said: "Before my diagnosis, I was a really active person. I enjoyed walking and played lots of badminton. Even though I'd been feeling tired before I received my test results, nothing could've prepared me for what happened next. When the doctor told me that I had myeloma, I was shocked and thought that it must be a mistake. I got really upset - thinking about what might happen to me and my family.

"I was pretty nervous about going for my first phase of treatment, as I didn't know what to expect. Thankfully the care that I received from the moment I walked in the original Centre was truly amazing. Everyone from the doctors and nurses, down to the cleaners were extremely kind - helping to make my treatment a much more manageable experience.

"When I received my first lot of chemotherapy treatment, the facilities in the old centre weren't like they are now. There wasn't much room for your family to stay with you through the treatment, which could be hard at times.

"The newly refurbished centre is so light and airy, that you're instantly more relaxed. I believe that your surroundings play a big part in how you feel when you're receiving your treatment and to have space for your family to come and be with you during those hard times makes such a difference.

"I really enjoy visiting the new Rosin Unit. I feel so lucky that we have a first class facility that is convenient to get to. The improved environment of the new centre has had a huge impact on my mood when I go for treatment and I've certainly noticed more people smiling which just shows how much the service is helping to make a difference to people's lives."

The Rosin Unit  is named in memory of a local GP Dr Louis Joseph Rosin, in recognition of the role he played in fundraising for the further development of haematology services in Darlington. Chemotherapy is no longer a rare treatment as it once was, and the new unit has responded to modern demands for treatment which can often last for up to two years, with regular visits until the disease relapses and/or stops.

But, thanks to funding from County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust and the Leukaemia Charitable Fund - a local fundraising group currently led by Cllr Heather Scott - the modernisation of the Rosin Centre has extended services in Darlington and raised standards of quality care being delivered for the future.

Councillor Heather Scott, O.B.E., chairman of the fundraising committee, said: "This is a wonderful day for Darlington. We set up the fundraising group in the 1990s and the people really took the cause to their hearts. We raised in excess of £350,000 for the haematology unit and cancer services, and Doctor Rosin would have been delighted to see how treatments at Darlington Memorial Hospital are saving lives.

"I am so proud of the way that the people of Darlington and surrounding districts responded over the years and gave so generously to this cause."

'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough - could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'

Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community Hospital