Ipswich Hospital cancer ward reopens with brand-new refurbishment

The team on the Somersham Ward celebrated the grand reopening with all new facilites, playrooms and

The team on the Somersham Ward celebrated the grand reopening with all new facilites, playrooms and dementia-friendly flooring. Picture: ESNEFT - Credit: Archant

The dedicated cancer ward at Ipswich Hospital has reopened after a touching moment with a dying patient inspired a refurbishment.

The Somersham Ward at Ipswich Hospital was closed in September so it could be revamped with fresh furnishings with the aim of improving the care of patients on the ward.

Wet rooms, a children’s playroom, energy-saving LED lights and new nurses stations were all fitted during a six-week renovation to make the ward a more patient-friendly place.

Somersham Ward sister Helen Scordis, matrons Laura Mallett and Tina Leppard and housekeeper Fiona Steward were the main drivers of this project, spurred on by the concerns one patient had as she was nearing the end of her life.

Miss Scordis said: “The ward was horrible. I remember speaking to a patient who was dying and she asked me: ‘Is this the last thing I will remember?’

“We had a conversation with the trust director’s and got things going.

“The changes are amazing and surpass anything I was expecting.”

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The ward cares for cancer patients having chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment, but also has new, dementia-friendly flooring designed to clearly direct patients without causing anxiety or confusion.

The simple patters, distinct colours and matt finishes to the floors are shown to help patients stay orientated and stable.

The finishing touch is the addition of soothing ceiling murals that depict a blue sky when illuminated, transforming the unit into a more uplifting place than before.

Laura Mallett, matron for cancer services at Ipswich Hospital, said it was hoped the work would offer patients a lighter and more modern environment.

Medical director Crawford Jamieson said: “The ward boasts a really good use of technology, it has special finishes that makes it resistant to bacteria, eco-friendly lighting and a real involvement of patients.

“There are many graphical displays that will make a real difference and that is a result of the dedication of the Somersham Ward team who know the needs of their patients.

“Previous ward refurbishments throughout the trust only half the area of Somersham have previously taken on average 12 weeks to complete so to undertake the refurbishment in half that time has been a huge benefit to the trust and to patients.”

Fundraising to help the project came from the Somersham Ward Support Group, the Butterfly charity and Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity, while the project was undertaken and completed by Turners Construction and sub-contractors.