State-of-the-art theatre equipment and new support centre will help Norfolk cancer patients

Nikki Morris, deputy chief executive of the Big C.

Nikki Morris, deputy chief executive of the Big C. - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk cancer charity has announced plans to open a city support centre as the need for its services has increased year on year.

Surgeons in theatre. Photo: NNUH

Surgeons in theatre. Photo: NNUH - Credit: NNUH

The Big C already has support centres in Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn, and at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).

But a new community centre will be opened in Norwich city centre for those who cannot get to the hospital or find being there distressing.

Nikki Morris, Big C deputy chief executive, said: 'Ever since we've open our community centres in Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn, the people of Norwich and the surrounding area have been asking for one.'

And when asked why Ms Morris said: 'It's because some find it hard to get there we know for some people parking is a problem or getting on public transport, so ease of access is really important and also from the point of view that for some people they don't want to come back to the hospital.'

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The charity is now in full fundraising mode as it needs to raise an estimated £130,000 to secure and kit out a building, and another £100,000 to £120,000 to run the centre for the first year.

But a boost will come from the Royal Norfolk Show Ball. The ball has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charities over the past five years.

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The announcement of the new centre comes as investment from the Big C has helped bring state-of-the-art technology into two NNUH operating theatres.

Some £125,000 from the charity's annual grants round, combined with £382,000 from the hospital charity, will fund the creation of two integrated theatres. These theatres have advanced technology installed in the ceiling which assists surgeons who are carrying out keyhole surgery

One of the new features of the integrated theatre is an infrared scope which help surgeons check for internal anatomy and the potential for bowel leaks, by highlighting blood vessels and lymph nodes. There will also be the ability to train future surgeons by transmitting live footage of surgery to the hospital's lecture theatre or further afield.

The new technology will be installed later this year and will be used for patients undergoing bowel, oesophageal and gastric (stomach), thoracic and gynaecological surgical procedures.

Ms Morris said: 'Big C is pleased to support this initiative which will see patients across Norfolk and Waveney benefit from world class cancer care. This investment will enable our medical teams to give the best care now, while supporting the education of those who will be our surgeons of the future.'

Consultant surgeon Richard Wharton added: 'Surgeons are performing ever-more complex procedures using these new technologies and the advantages of this equipment will include a reduction in complications, faster recovery, more efficient surgery, and improved quality of care.'

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