The UK’s busiest cancer centre, The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, has received a major boost as a new charity is aiming to provide funding in excess of £20 million in the next five years to help it battle Scotland’s biggest killer.
That is the aim of the Beatson Cancer Charity, which was launched today (27 February) in Glasgow.
The charity’s vision is to ensure that the Beatson is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading cancer centres and to attract significant funding to further enhance the experience and wellbeing of current and former patients and their families including the 8,000 new patients who are treated at the Beatson every year and through longer-term research will enhance treatments and outcomes.
The new organisation is the only charity dedicated to supporting the Beatson and was formed out of merging the resources and services of the Friends of the Beatson and the Beatson Oncology Centre Fund. It will work in partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
As the lead centre for non-surgical cancer care in Scotland, the Beatson serves around 50% of the Scottish population.
Speaking at the launch, David Welch, Chief Executive of the new charity, said: “Today marks a hugely significant step in the fight against cancer. We are determined that the Beatson Cancer Charity will do all that we can to enhance the Beatson’s rightful status as one of the world’s leading centres fighting this terrible disease.”
The charity will provide vital funding for enhanced patient and family support services and facilities, innovative medical equipment, novel research and additional staff training and development. Over £800,000 a year is already committed to funding 19 specialist posts including nursing, radiography, physics and research-based staff.
Today the charity is announcing several new initiatives including:
• additional funding for a melanoma clinical nurse specialist due to growing demand from skin cancer patients
• scoping of a family bereavement support service to provide more emotional care and administrative help for families at an extremely difficult time
• a welcome service for patients and visitors on arrival at the Beatson
• Expansion of the complementary therapy services to a wider patient population and new patient groups.
Jamie Matheson, chairman said: “The Beatson is a world-class cancer centre and is deserving of its place on the world stage. We are committed to developing a partnership with the Beatson and other key stakeholders that will change the face of cancer treatment on a global scale. This is simply too important not to do.”
The charity will expand throughout all wards and departments the existing range of complementary therapies carried out by an experienced team of staff, therapists and volunteers within its ‘Friends of the Beatson Centre.’ This unique and highly acclaimed facility provides a range of complementary therapies including hypnotherapy, massage, reflexology, beauty therapies and relaxation techniques to over 2,500 Beatson patients each year at a cost of £425,000.
Alarmingly more than one in three people are affected by cancer in the West of Scotland - the highest cancer rate in Europe. As technology advances and new treatments and techniques are developed, there is growing demand on cancer services.
David Welch added: “At any stage in life, a cancer diagnosis is a traumatic and life changing event, not just for the individual but also for their family. It could happen to any one of us at any time, often without warning, regardless of age or health.
“We are committed to the fight against cancer in a wide variety of ways, from patient wellbeing to the funding of additional specialist posts and services as well as treatment, care and research.”
Ian Lee, Vice-Chairman of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “I am delighted to see the launch of the Beatson Cancer Charity. We look forward to working in partnership to support the charity and secure significant funds to further develop and enhance an already exceptional service.’’
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