Return of the Mac

“Return of The Mac.”

Patients and staff from the Macmillan Unit have returned home to Christchurch after having been temporarily relocated to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBH).

To allow for the increased need for high-quality palliative and end-of-life care due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the patients and staff normally located at the Macmillan Unit based at Christchurch Hospital were temporarily relocated to the Derwent in April, a self-contained unit at RBH.

The move allowed staff from the Macmillan Unit to work closely with their nursing and therapy colleagues at RBH, and also enabled other staff to gain valuable experience working in palliative care.

Laura Cutress, a staff nurse usually based in sexual health, joined the team on the Derwent. She said: “It has been very different working in palliative care, but I really enjoyed my time on the unit. It’s busy, but in a different way to running clinics. My colleagues from palliative care are amazing – super friendly and incredibly welcoming.

“I feel privileged to have spent time with some patients in their last days and to have supported such a fantastic team in delivering the incredible person centered care they give. It’s been very rewarding. Long term I feel this has been an opportunity to increase my knowledge and enhance my communication skills.”

After several weeks working with the teams at Bournemouth, the staff and patients began the move back to Christchurch Hospital on 21 May, where building work has been completed to ensure the Unit can be used safely under current infection control measures.

Dr Megan Howarth, palliative care consultant, said: “I am so proud of the resilience the teams have shown during this period of change. Their commitment to providing outstanding care to our patients has not wavered, even in challenging times. We have learnt that it doesn’t matter where we’re based, we can still provide the same high quality of care as long as our focus is on our patients and what matters to them. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported us, and particularly to the Derwent Team, who we have loved working with.”

The Macmillan Unit is part funded by local charity, Macmillan Caring Locally, who continued to support staff and patients throughout the relocation.

Neal Williams, Trust Secretary for Macmillan Caring Locally, said: “We are so proud of our Macmillan Team and Derwent colleagues who have continued to provide the best possible care for our patients and support for their families under very challenging circumstances. We were delighted to welcome our patients and staff back to the Macmillan Unit.”