Conservative MP Nick Boles opened a new haematology unit at King’s College Hospital after being the very first patient to be treated in it.
The Member of Parliament for Grantham and Stamford, who lives in Camberwell, received a bone marrow transplant for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2017 and is now cancer-free.
The new facility, called Leukaemia UK Ambulatory Care Unit, treats a range of malignant haematological conditions including myeloma (bone marrow cancer), lymphoma (lymphatic cancer) and leukaemia (blood cancer).
The unit is used to deliver bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy in an outpatient setting, enabling patients to remain in their homes or hotel close by rather than requiring a hospital admission.
Talking about the opening of the unit, Nick Boles MP, said, “I am delighted to be opening King’s College Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Unit. Being offered the chance to be the unit’s first patient made a huge difference to my quality of life during my stem cell transplant allowing me to live at home and come in each day for tests and treatment. It’s a great step forward for patient care at King’s.”
Dr Victoria Potter, Consultant Haematologist and Transplant Director at King’s College Hospital, added, “Patients have told us they would rather avoid a hospital admission if possible, which is why we have developed this new unit. When it is deemed safe for a patient to receive care as an outpatient they come in for treatment, are closely monitored and then able to go home later the same day. This will enhance the care we provide and will allow us to treat even more patients.
“We are very grateful to Leukaemia UK and the Lions International Blood Research Appeal (LIBRA) for funding the new unit, and we are delighted that Mr Boles has come back to King’s to officially open it after his successful treatment here.”
Angela Smith-Morgan, Chief Executive of Leukaemia UK, said, “We are delighted to have funded this transformational unit which is already making a positive difference to patients affected by blood cancer. Leukaemia UK is proud to have continuously supported and helped transform King’s haematology department into a world class centre of excellence since 1977.”
Andrew Lodge, Chairman of the Lions International Blood Research Appeal (LIBRA), attended the opening and said, “LIBRA Trustees were delighted to cover the cost of specialist equipment for this fantastic new unit which is benefiting many patients. We would like to thank all our supporters for their fundraising efforts and the Lions Clubs International Foundation who provided a generous grant. The official opening has been a very special occasion, marking a great achievement. It is wonderful to know that MP Nick Boles received lifesaving treatment here and there will no doubt be many more patients who follow in his footsteps.”
King’s is a leading national and international centre for the diagnosis and treatment of blood cancers. The hospital has the largest bone marrow transplant programme in the UK and performs more than 200 transplants a year.
King’s is also an international centre for research into and the treatment of myeloid leukaemias, lymphomas and myeloma. King's has the first immune gene therapy programme for leukaemia approved by the Gene Therapy Advisory Committee (GTAC) and is developing the use of novel agents including chimeric antigen receptor T-cells for the treatment of a variety of blood cancers. The hospital carries out numerous national and international studies, which gives patients access to innovative treatments.