New chairs for cancer wards thanks to councillor

Monday, 3 December, 2018

An EHDC councillor has found a way to ease the recovery of cancer patients in a Portsmouth Hospital after undergoing his own treatment there.

Cllr Nigel Wren, EHDC member for Clanfield and Finchdean, has raised money for four high-backed chairs for the oncology wards in Queen Alexandra Hospital, where he spent time last year.

Cllr Wren was diagnosed with cancer in May 2017 and underwent intense chemotherapy at the hospital.

During his recovery he found what he needed most was somewhere comfortable to sit – and so that is what he set out to provide.

Using some of his councillor grant fund from East Hampshire District Council and by rallying donations from residents and other councillors he has been able to provide four £1,200 chairs for the hospital’s oncology wards.

Cllr Wren said: “The chemo was incredibly draining, and all we had to sit in were the normal waiting room chairs. I had a whinge and the staff found some reclining chairs for me. I decided better chairs were needed to help others going through cancer and began fundraising.

“I asked people for donations, it was that simple. I asked if any fellow councillors had any money left in their Councillor Community Grant Funds, the support was amazing. I then asked Horndean, Clanfield and Rowlands Castle’s parish councils along with some local residents and again the response has been amazing.”

It has been shown that getting up, dressed and staying out of bed changes a patient’s attitude towards their hospitalisation from: “I’m really sick” to “I’m getting better”.

Nigel and a few of the people who supported the Cancer Services Fund at QA Hospital visited the cancer wards to try out the chairs.

Senior Sister Heather Narey explained how better chairs make a big difference.

She said: “The chairs make people sit up out of bed, which reduces the risk of chest infections and blood clots, as well as improves digestion. This all helps to make their admission shorter. We have a few different kinds of chairs which patients have given feedback on. So far everyone loves the red chair the most!

“Thank you so much for this donation. These chairs really have made a huge difference.”

Thanks to the hospital’s procurement team, a contract has been set up with a supplier so that once the most popular and comfortable chairs have been approved by patients, more can be ordered easily. 

The Cancer Services Fund resides within Portsmouth Hospitals Charity, which supports patients and staff of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust by providing new equipment, resources, facilities and education to enhance care.