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Kim Coote

Just like going to meet your friends

When civil servant Kim was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in September 2021, she was told there was a two-month waiting list to see the consultant at the James Paget Hospital, so was unable to start her treatment straight away. Faced with a poor prognosis of just a year and the prospects of palliative care, she knew she couldn’t afford to wait.

“I managed to see a consultant at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for the first few months, before transferring to the James Paget Hospital at the brilliant Sandra Chapman Centre. I had two weekly trips there, one for my bloods and the day after I’d have chemo. My infusion would take two and a half hours, but I’d end up invariably being there for at least four hours.”

She initially started on a course of Oxaliplatin every three weeks, but stopped after suffering from neuropathy. However, despite the side effects experienced, she had been responding well to treatment, so switched to 5FU (Fluorouracil) every week. “This was given to me on the mobile cancer care unit, which was so much easier. You’re talking about just a 20-minute infusion.

Now she’s on oral medication, she doesn’t require intravenous infusions but still needs her bloods taken each week. “Rather than me going to the hospital, they (the unit staff) called me and asked if I wanted to come to the unit instead. That’s amazing. They’re able to clean the port in my chest too. It’s excellent.”

Although the hospital isn’t that far from where I live, there are just so many people there, so you have to wait. You can be waiting for an hour…


She continues: “I live in Gorleston, and the unit is in Bradwell, in Morrison’s car park, which is just three minutes – or three miles away – by car. Although the hospital isn’t that far from where I live, there are just so many people there, so you have to wait. You can be waiting for an hour before they call you, and that’s before you’ve gone through to the next waiting room. You usually can’t get a seat. With the unit, you’re straight in and out. They’re there waiting for you, so they know instantly who you are.”

She describes the experience as “just like going to meet your friends.” As she works from home, all she needs to do is book half an hour off, then “whizz down there and I’m back at my desk in no time.”

“The nurses ask if you want a coffee and biscuits. It’s just so lovely. One of them is moving house – you get to know them a bit more. When you go into a busy hospital environment, the staff are stretched so much that there’s no time for banter.”

Currently managing her health, Kim admits that although there’s no cure, she’s delighted that she’s surpassed the original prognosis by some margin. “I feel amazing and look good. My dad thinks I’m a fake!”

As a fervent supporter of the care provided on the mobile unit,for her the benefits are a no-brainer.

“The unit is often in various locations and it’s easy to get to. If you try parking in a hospital car park, my goodness, that’s never straightforward. With the unit, you haven’t got that worry because normally it’s in an area which has always got plenty of free parking. It means I can then nip to do my shopping at Morrisons. It’s just brilliant all round.”

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