Team­ing up to help can­cer pa­tients

Sunderland Echo - - News - By David Al­li­son david.al­li­son@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @davi­dal­li­son88

A Wear­side char­ity has teamed up with busi­nesses to pro­vide free ac­com­mo­da­tion and trans­port for can­cer pa­tients re­ceiv­ing treat­ment at Sun­der­land Royal Hospi­tal.

The Sun­der­land Prostate On­col­ogy Group (SPOG) which of­fers ad­vice and sup­port to men who are di­ag­nosed with pe­nile and prostate can­cer, is work­ing with hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion Gen­too and Sta­tion Taxis to solve some of the dif­fi­cul­ties pa­tients face find­ing short­term ac­com­mo­da­tion be­fore and af­ter treat­ment.

The ‘Home from Home’ scheme is a re­sult of the work SPOG is com­plet­ing with City Hos­pi­tals Sun­der­land NHS Foun­da­tion Trust’s Urol­ogy Unit to give help and sup­port to prostate and pe­nile can­cer suf­fers as pa­tients found it dif­fi­cult when trav­el­ling from as far as York­shire to un­dergo treat­ment.

Fol­low­ing dis­cus­sions with staff from the Urol­ogy Unit, SPOG vol­un­teers, chair­man Tony Kin­nair, sec­re­tary Alan Wright and com­mit­tee mem­bers Billy Jemma and Ge­orge Gold­smith met with Gen­too and de­vel­oped the idea of util­is­ing some guest rooms at their shel­tered ac­com­mo­da­tion units.

Gen­too, which owns and man­ages more than 29,000 homes in Sun­der­land, is pro­vid­ing a ‘Home from Home’ at two of its shel­tered hous­ing schemes, which can be used by a can­cer pa­tient and/or their com­pan­ion.

They of­fer an overnight stay for a max­i­mum of two nights so the pa­tient can stay be­fore ad­mis­sion to hospi­tal and the night they’re dis­charged, if needed.

Lucy Malarkey, Deputy Di­rec­tor at Gen­too, said: “At Gen­too we be­lieve in putting peo­ple first so when we got the op­por­tu­nity to work with SPOG vol­un­teers, our lo­cal hospi­tal and Sta­tion Taxis we saw a way to help make a dif­fer­ence.

“We recog­nised that to- gether, we could help in mak­ing the fight against prostate and pe­nile can­cer just a lit­tle eas­ier.”

Sta­tion Taxis are also of­fer­ing free re­turn travel for the pa­tient and their com­pan­ion from the apart­ment to the hospi­tal, with the cost be­ing sub­sidised by Sta­tion Taxis and SPOG to en­sure the trans­port re­mains com­pletely free for the pa­tient.

Trevor Hines, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Sta­tion Taxis, said: “Some pa­tients have to travel a long dis­tance for this treat­ment and don’t know the area very well, so trans­port should be the least of their wor­ries.

“It is great to work to­gether with SPOG Vol­un­teers, Gen­too and our lo­cal hospi­tal to pro­vide this ser­vice.”

Trevor Hines, Alan Wright, Lor­raine Sayer (Sta­tion Taxis), Ken But­ler (taxi driver), Ben Jenk­ins (City Hos­pi­tals Sun­der­land NHS Foun­da­tion Trust), Lucy Malarkey (Gen­too) and Ge­orge Gold­smith (SPOG).

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