Children’s care closer to home

Six-year-old Parker Hawe with mum Tracy Norton and (below) Diane Stewart.
Six-year-old Parker Hawe with mum Tracy Norton and (below) Diane Stewart.
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CHILDREN with cancer can now get help as close to home as possible after a new unit opened at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

The Regional Cancer Network has authorised the hospital to become a Paediatric Oncology Shared Care Unit (POSCU), after reviewing facilities on the new children’s wards.

Diane Stewart

Diane Stewart

Blood transfusions, and urgent assessment and treatment for complications such as infections can now all be carried out locally – saving families the expense and time of travelling to Manchester Children’s Hospital regularly for certain treatments.

Diane Stewart, matron for children’s health a The Vic, said: “It’s fantastic that much of the supportive care after diagnosis can now be provided closer to home, or at home when appropriate. This holistic supportive service will help to normalise life as much as possible for the children and their families and minimise the impact of the disease.

“It never would have been possible to become a shared care unit on the previous children’s wards.

“But the new wards in the Children’s Unit are bright and modern and have private rooms and en-suite facilities, so parents can stay overnight if they want to, which helped us to meet many of the environmental standards required to become a POSCU.”

Parker Hawe, six, from Poulton, is receiving frequent treatment at Blackpool’s Children’s unit.

He was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in April 2011.

Parker’s mother, Tracy Norton said: “It makes a huge difference to us now Parker can get treated here.

“We are closer to home so he’s never short of clothes, he gets his own room and other members of the family can come and visit him, which they couldn’t do before.

“It makes it a lot easier for day-to-day family life.”

The unit is run by a team of medics, including specialist trained nurses, doctors, pharmacists and allied health professionals.

They meet monthly to discuss all patients ensuring the team is keep up-to-date on their progress, and work closely with oncology staff at Manchester Children’s Hospital, which is the central site for children to receive the majority of their cancer care and treatment based in the North West.

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