Work to start on hospital's £5m breast cancer centre

Some of the team caring for patients with breast cancer at Ipswich Hospital. Left to right: Ceri Mee

Each of these handcrafted 'blooms' was 'picked', raising over £30,000 for the appeal. Left to right: Ceri Meek, Laura Southgate, Harriet Dynver, Amy Hilling, Suzanne Holland, Julie Steele and Kim Collingridge - Credit: ESNEFT

Building work is due to begin on a new £5m breast care centre at Ipswich Hospital in the spring. 

The £5.3million state-of-the-art centre is due to open later in the year, after four years of tireless campaigning known as the ‘Blossom Appeal.’  

Mandy Jordan, associate director of charities and voluntary services, is thrilled with this development with work currently pencilled in to start in April. 

She said: “It’s so exciting to be starting 2022 with such good news for our breast care patients.

"With building works beginning in a matter of weeks our dream of a patient-focused, dedicated Breast Care Centre will soon be a reality and that feels really good to say. 

“However, we are still £500,000 away from the fundraising target and need our community’s support to reach it.

"Everyone can make a difference and every penny counts so please support us if you can.” 

An artist's illustration of the new breast cancer centre at Ipswich Hospital which will cost £5.3m.

An artist's illustration of the new breast cancer centre at Ipswich Hospital which will cost £5.3m. - Credit: ESNEFT

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There are many ways to support the blossom appeal in the final step of their journey. 

In May, members of the public can sign up for a sponsored hospital hike between Ipswich Hospital to Colchester, or vice versa.  

Later in July, those brave-hearted can abseil from the top of Ipswich’s 120-foot-high maternity building. 

From spring onwards, there will be the opportunity to take part in the appeal’s open gardens.

Award-winning head gardener Lucy Chamberlain has recently joined the charity as Open Gardens Collection Ambassador. 

Belinda Gray of Art for Cure organised the online 'Bloom' exhibition for the appeal during lockdown, raising £70,000.

The local community has rallied around the appeal. Belinda Gray of Art for Cure organised the online 'Bloom' exhibition for the appeal during lockdown, raising £70,000. - Credit: Archant

The impact the new centre will have on breast cancer patients will be enormous say staff.

Currently, Ipswich Hospital does not have a clinic dedicated solely to breast cancer cases, but shares space with other departments.  

This means that patients often have to dress and undress as they walk backwards and forwards between departments.

Their hospital visits are also prolonged, as they spend more time sitting in different waiting rooms. 

The creation of the new breast care centre will mean that patients can receive their care in a calm and relaxing environment, making a daunting process as simple as it possibly can be.

Patients will be able to be imaged, biopsied and visit their clinician at the same time, and in the same place. 

The new environment will be better suited to reflect the excellent care that Ipswich Hospital already provide. 

This campaign was started by the Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity in October of 2017.

£4.8 million has already been secured through donations and NHS funding from the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust, which run Ipswich hospital. 

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