The Royal Marsden's Oak Centre for Children and Young People is one of the largest comprehensive children's cancer centres in Europe. It sees almost 600 inpatients and more than 5,000 day patients every year. The Royal Marsden has scored amongst the top Trusts in the country for patient experience for children and young people, according to results published by the Care Quality Commission.
Exceeding previous ratings, 100% of our paediatric patients felt like they were well looked after whilst in hospital and the hospital scored above average in a number of areas including: pain management; experience on the hospital ward such as privacy when receiving care and treatment; and communication with hospital staff. As the Centre is based at The Royal Marsden, a world leader in cancer diagnosis, treatment, research and education, patients benefit from receiving their treatment in a comprehensive cancer centre.
Cancer in childhood or adolescence is extremely rare and therefore it is vital that these patients are treated in specialist centres. As a Principal Treatment Centre, we provide care for all children with cancer in the South Thames area, which includes Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
The clinical service is provided by a team of paediatric oncologists with on-site access to radiotherapy, diagnostic imaging and pathology, specialist cancer nursing, symptom care and pharmacy expertise.
Comprehensive and leading-edge treatment
The Royal Marsden is a leader in clinical oncology techniques and advances in diagnosis, treatment and care. Patients have rapid access to high-quality cancer imaging such as CT, MRI and PET scans and the hospital’s on-site cyclotron facility.
Recent advances in technology and drug development mean that many more of our patients can now be treated as day patients rather than inpatients.
The Oak Centre for Children and Young People allows us to offer more treatments in a daycare setting and to develop innovative approaches in nursing practice. The increased capacity is also helping us to meet growing demand, avoid delays in treatments and provide an environment for young patients which meets all their health, educational and social needs.
Research and drug development
The Royal Marsden has the largest paediatric inpatient and drug development programme in the UK, and is one of the few centres in the world to deliver early clinical trials of investigational therapies for teenagers and young adults with cancer.
NICE guidance recommends that children and young people with cancer should be offered the chance to take part in research trials. Our partnership with The Institute of Cancer Research places us in a unique position to develop this pioneering work and quickly turn the latest scientific advances into clinical benefits for young cancer patients.
Anti-cancer drugs are developed on site by leading experts from The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research.
Family-centred care is at the heart of the service provided at the Oak Centre for Children and Young People.
When a child or young person is diagnosed with cancer, the whole family is affected. Because parents and families know their children best, we believe they are central to the care-giving process and we value their input and feedback. Parents are closely involved in treatment plans, and their implementation, both in the hospital and at home.
It is vital that our patients receive seamless care throughout their treatment pathway. A community liaison team facilitates shared care with local hospitals to ensure this happens. This also allows families to spend more time together at home and for patients to remain involved in the life they had before cancer, enjoying hobbies and interests, seeing their friends and going to school.
Supporting patients after treatment
Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiotherapy can sometimes lead to other health problems for patients at any time during and after treatment.
The Royal Marsden understands the importance of ensuring our patients have the care and support they need during and after their cancer treatment. We have a well-established and comprehensive long-term follow-up service for children and young people.
The Children’s Unit at The Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton is such a great place. We are a friendly, hard-working team. Children with cancer need the best nurses with specialist care and that’s what we have here.
Supported by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity
Supporters of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity have enabled the Charity to help improve the patient experience for children and their families. The Charity contributed £16 million to the cost of the Oak Centre for Children and Young People when it was built and have since funded the creation of break-out spaces such as the Pandora parents’ lounge and outdoor play areas.
The Charity continues to fund a number of different services within the centre including a team of play specialists who use their understanding of child development, therapeutic play activities and distraction techniques to help young patients prepare for and cope with painful or invasive procedures, scans and treatment and to ensure the service runs smoothly. The Charity also supports the pain management team, who work closely with the physiotherapists and psychologists to help children and young people improve their pain management and find ways of coping.