Staff, patients and volunteers at the Dimbleby Macmillan Support Centre are celebrating, after receiving a prestigious award which recognises high standards in cancer care.

Situated in the Guy’s Cancer Centre at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup, the service has been awarded a Macmillan Quality Environment Mark (MQEM), in recognition of the centre’s commitment to providing a high-quality environment for people living with cancer. Assessed by an external panel to be “very good”; the centre was particularly commended for being welcoming and for the “friendly” team of staff and volunteers, as well as providing an “excellent” user journey.

The MQEM award was launched in 2009 by Macmillan Cancer Support. It is the first in the UK that specifically assesses how well buildings such as chemotherapy units provide support and care to people affected by cancer.

Paula Doig, one of the centre’s Dimbleby Cancer Care Assistant Nurse Specialist in Cancer Information, said:

“Receiving a Macmillan Quality Environment Mark (MQEM) is a significant achievement, which our wonderful team of volunteers and I are hugely proud of. The work everyone at the service does is phenomenal and makes a huge difference to the experience of people living with cancer in South London and North Kent. And the fact that we have accomplished this in our very first year of being open, makes the award all the more special.”

Daniel Callanan, Macmillan Partnership Quality Lead for South East London, said of the achievement:

“The Macmillan Quality Environment Mark recognises excellent cancer environments. The Dimbleby Macmillan Support Centre based at Queen Mary’s Hospital is a great example of a centre that is welcoming, spacious and relaxing for users – it is a fantastic resource for the community. As one of our newest services, the team should be very proud that they have already achieved such high standards.”

Robin Pritchard, Director of Dimbleby Cancer Care added:

“We’re incredibly proud of the work the team have done in establishing the Dimbleby Macmillan Support Centre since it opened last year. The team of dedicated Macmillan Volunteers working closely with the Dimbleby Cancer Care Specialist Cancer Information Nurses provide a unique service and it’s wonderful to see their hard work recognised in this way. The new centre has enabled people to access not only treatment, but care and support in their local area which is so important and means that they are more likely to take advantage of the support available.”

The Macmillan Quality Environment Mark helps to ensure that people affected by cancer are treated and supported in physical environments of uniformly high quality.

The scheme is open to any healthcare providers from the public, voluntary or private sectors that operate cancer care buildings. It has been developed in collaboration with people living with cancer and organisations including the Department of Health in England.

To receive the award, environments have to score highly in areas such as use of space, comfort and atmosphere, personal and social interaction and health and wellbeing.  Consideration is given to such things as the greeting people receive when they come to a centre, the use of natural light and outdoor space, and the availability of quiet, private rooms – all areas that were highlighted as really important by people living with cancer who helped develop the award.

Located within the Guy’s Cancer Centre at Queen Mary’s, the Dimbleby Macmillan Support Centre is open five days a week and is staffed by a team of volunteers and professionals.

To find out more, call 0207 188 0771 or email dimblebycancercare@gstt.nhs.uk