Katie’s Story

I am writing this as a parent of a child who has been at The Royal Marsden. Our 4-year-old son Jack Jeffreys was a patient there from August 2017 until he sadly passed away in July 2018 from Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma.

The Oak Centre at the Royal Marsden In Sutton was practically our home for the most part of that year he was in treatment and was absolutely amazing.

As a parent who has been in this position, I am deeply concerned about the possibility of the Centre closing down and feel that it would be the wrong decision. It is a horrendously long journey as it is, to travel your poorly child that far, and the possibility that it could end up even further away is just unacceptable. It’s an extremely worrying and scary time for both child and parent and the added worry of having to travel further and for existing patients to have to move to a new location will make an already difficult time worse.

I feel the best outcome for all, children, parents and the staff, is to create an ICU on site at The Royal Marsden.

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The NHS is of course absolutely focused right now on COVID-19 and on caring for and treating those who are sick. All sections of the NHS are doing an amazing job.

While children’s cancer services, which we are campaigning on, is clearly critically important, we at the It #MustBeMarsden campaign in no way want to distract anyone from the vital and urgent priority of responding to COVID-19.

As a result, we have decided to pause the campaign. You may have already noticed we stopped tweeting and posting stories a few weeks ago.

That means that, when the country and the NHS are on the other side of the coronavirus crisis, we will return and re-start the campaign.

Thank you as ever for the incredible support you’ve given It #MustBeMarsden to date.

Our Parent's Petition

NHS England are deciding the future of children’s cancer services at The Royal Marsden in Sutton. We have just 6 months to make sure the needs of children are prioritised.

The Oak Centre for Children and Young People could be closed having an enormous impact on patients, parents, and families across the whole of South East England, from Surrey, Sussex, Kent and Essex; as well as knock on effects to childhood cancer research across the UK.

What are the options being considered?

  • Move all children’s cancer services to The Evelina at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital in London
  • Move all children’s cancer services to St George’s Hospital in Tooting
  • Build a new hospital next to The Royal Marsden in Sutton that has a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)

A recently commissioned NHS report fails to consider the wider impact of any proposed changes. Children and young people treated at The Royal Marsden have access to the best possible clinical care, professional expertise, and outstanding facilities less than a decade old. As a dedicated cancer centre The Royal Marsden is recognised internationally for its reputation and access to innovation and new advancements in the treatment of cancer. It’s location adjacent to the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) enables clinicians and researchers to work closely together every day, ensuring that patients at The Royal Marsden and beyond are able to benefit from the latest breakthroughs in cancer research.

Currently, children who require intensive care services are transferred by critical care ambulance to St George’s Hospital in nearby Tooting. This arrangement has been in place for many years. However, a new service specification from NHS England means that The Royal Marsden is no longer seen as providing adequate care for children.

Moving cancer care away from The Royal Marsden, one of the largest comprehensive children and young people’s cancer centres in Europe, will have a hugely detrimental effect on the vulnerable patients and families that depend on the life-saving treatments it delivers. We cannot allow this to happen.

A solution that retains specialist cancer services for children at The Royal Marsden must be found.

Sign and share to help save the future of The Royal Marsden as it #MustBeMarsden

Dear Member of Parliament,

Children and young people’s cancer services in London – The Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Marsden at Sutton is world-leading – I am writing to ask for your support so that it continues to be the centre for specialist children’s cancer services in South London and South England, supported by the £500m investment for a preferred site in Sutton that the Prime Minister announced in one of his first acts after the General Election.

The Royal Marsden in Sutton has an exceptional safety record for specialist children’s services compared to all other centres nationally. It is ranked highly by patients and families for treatment, care and experience, in modern, age-appropriate facilities opened less than a decade ago. It is the top recruiter to children’s trials in Europe – essential to further improve survival. The Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission and its services for children are rated Outstanding in terms of being caring and Good in all other areas.

On 30th January 2020, the NHS England Board decided to proceed with plans for a co-located model for services for children and young people with cancer. But the report that led to this decision does not treat London equally – there is one rule for north London and another for south London, because it mandates co-location for south London but allows north London to continue its networked model with children moving between sites.

NHS England is now assessing the options available to them. One of these options is to develop the service on the Sutton site.

I believe that a proposal which retains The Royal Marsden’s cancer expertise, life-saving research, modern facilities and accessible location is the best option to ensure that the best clinical outcomes and patient experience are provided.

(ADD YOUR OWN STORY HERE IF YOU WISH)

The Royal Marsden at Sutton is the best option for:

  • Clinical outcomes
  • Quality of treatment, care and experience
  • Access and travel times – children with cancer should not be travelling to hospital by train, on the Underground or by bus
  • World-class research
  • Cost – the investment you have committed, for a preferred site for new services in Sutton, means that it is the most cost-effective option

I hope you will support The Royal Marsden in Sutton so that its outstanding service for children and young people with cancer in South London and South England is retained – It Must Be Marsden.

Please may I ask that you raise this matter at the highest levels.

Yours sincerely,

Your name

Dear Mr Johnson and Mr Hancock,

Children and young people’s cancer services in London – The Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Marsden at Sutton is world-leading – I am writing to ask that you ensure it continues to be the centre for specialist children’s cancer services in South London and South England, supported by the £500m investment for a preferred site in Sutton that you announced in one of your first acts after the General Election.

The Royal Marsden in Sutton has an exceptional safety record for specialist children’s services compared to all other centres nationally. It is ranked highly by patients and families for treatment, care and experience, in modern, age-appropriate facilities opened less than a decade ago. It is the top recruiter to children’s trials in Europe – essential to further improve survival. The Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission and its services for children are rated Outstanding in terms of being caring and Good in all other areas.

On 30th January 2020, the NHS England Board decided to proceed with plans for a co-located model for services for children and young people with cancer. But the report that led to this decision does not treat London equally – there is one rule for north London and another for south London, because it mandates co-location for south London but allows north London to continue its networked model with children moving between sites.

NHS England is now assessing the options available to them. One of these options is to develop the service on the Sutton site.

I believe that a proposal which retains The Royal Marsden’s cancer expertise, life-saving research, modern facilities and accessible location is the best option to ensure that the best clinical outcomes and patient experience are provided.

(ADD YOUR OWN STORY HERE IF YOU WISH)

The Royal Marsden at Sutton is the best option for:

  • Clinical outcomes
  • Quality of treatment, care and experience
  • Access and travel times – children with cancer should not be travelling to hospital by train, on the Underground or by bus
  • World-class research
  • Cost – the investment you have committed, for a preferred site for new services in Sutton, means that it is the most cost-effective option

Prime Minister and Secretary of State, I hope you will choose to retain this outstanding service for children and young people with cancer in South London and South England – It Must Be Marsden.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Yours sincerely,

Your name