Former Bulstrode House becomes breast care clinic

08/06/2011

WHEN women step out on this months Pink Ladies Sunset Coastal Walk they will be helping to fund a new one-stop breast clinic for the island. The news is both a milestone for breast cancer care and the support group, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

Lead nurse for cancer and palliative care Karen Leach said the relocation and expansion of the unit, from the radiology department to what was formerly Bulstrode House, would significantly improve the experience of women attending the facility.

At the moment it does not have enough rooms to meet the services requirements.

The move, which will be funded by the Pink Ladies, was only officially agreed last week.

Mrs Leach said costs and timescales had not yet been figured out because planning discussions needed to take place.

The original building was paid for by the Guernsey Society for Cancer Relief and was later gifted to the Health and Social Services Department when the oncology unit moved into the new clinical block in January 2010.
Relocating the breast unit means that it will have its own dedicated entrance, which will be much more low-key.

A lymphedema nurse, who is partly funded by the Pink Ladies and helps with a side effect of the disease, is part of the team and the move will accommodate her within the unit.

It should also provide space for the visiting breast reconstruction surgeon to see patients pre- and post-op.

We have all these extra people so we need the extra space, said Mrs Leach.

The unit currently has no dedicated ultrasound room, as it has several different uses, but the new unit will accommodate this plus facilitating mammograms, along with three consulting rooms.

A quiet room for sharing significant news is also part of the plan.
If you are receiving a diagnosis we want to give you the time to talk about it, said Mrs Leach. It would be dedicated so it would always be available.
At the moment, she said, because there was not enough room it could be difficult to manage the clinic but the new unit would provide the flexibility staff needed.

The way it will be set up means breast screening and the symptomatic clinic should be relatively separate.

The most exciting thing is that we will be able to work with the Pink Ladies on it, said Mrs Leach.

We will be able to talk to them about their experiences and see how we can improve.

Lead nurse for cancer and palliative care Karen Leach at the former Bulstrode House, which will become a one-stop breast clinic for the island. Funds and sponsorship raised by the Pink Ladies Sunset Coastal Walk 2011 will go towards the renovation of the building.     (Picture by Tom Tardif 1145166)

The unit screens around 5,000 women a year and between 40 and 50 cases are diagnosed annually.

Nine out of ten lumps found are benign.

In Guernsey, screening takes place every two years for women from the age of 50. In England it is every three years.

At five years in, there is a 95% survival rate relative to deaths in the general population.

The Pink Ladies Sunset Coastal Walk takes place on Saturday 18 June.

A more efficient service

A NEW one-stop breast clinic will be much more efficient for patients, said the lead nurse for cancer and palliative care.

Karen Leach said it would improve patients experiences and was an exciting development for the breast team.

Women who have been referred by their GP with a lump will be seen by a breast surgeon, who decides if it needs further investigation.
That could be a mammogram and/or ultrasound scan, which could be done at the unit on the same day.

Most people would be reassured and discharged, and the ones who needed a biopsy would come back for their results.

At present, as different people throughout the week use various rooms within the unit, facilities can be tied up.

Mrs Leach said the team was extremely grateful to the Pink Ladies for funding the relocation.

Its a lovely building and we are really pleased to be able to take it on.
She added that screening was an important part of what the unit offered, as it picked up problems early.

Our detection rate shows that screening is working and that its worthwhile to attend.



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