The past two years have reinforced, more than ever, how much we as a country value the NHS as a centrepiece of our society.
It was therefore a great pleasure to be invited, together with my colleague Tracey Crouch CBE MP, to open Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust’s new Oncology Outpatients Suite.
The new building has nine new clinic rooms and means patients can see consultants, registrars, cancer nurse specialists and radiographers in a ‘super clinic’ where multi-disciplinary teams work together to provide rapid and effective care.
The facility also includes two specialist clinic rooms meaning patients can quickly have blood tests, with the suite also able to host additional face-to-face consultations.
The new suite is the latest in a number of developments in cancer care at the Trust, which provides some of the fastest access to treatment in the country.
My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer 6 years ago and we entered a process that took about four years to complete, in multiple locations. Navigating that journey was a challenge whilst also having to deal with the mental stress of the disease and its treatment.
In addition, my colleague Tracey has spoken bravely of her own challenges in facing down cancer and the difficulties of recovery.
Consequently, I can hugely appreciate the value of co-locating a huge number of services in one location.
Kent Oncology Centre is the fourth largest provider of cancer care in the country and the new co-location of services will make successful treatment all the easier.
These services will help many thousands manage cancer in the years ahead and I commend MTWNHS Trust CEO Miles Scott and his team for all their efforts in bringing the project to fruition.