Artwork dedicated to cancer patients' champion

Monday 22 October 2018

Six people standing with artwork at unveiling
  • Guy's Cancer Centre pays tribute to June Casson
  • New figures reveal impact of centre she helped to shape
  • Artwork unveiled by Old Bexley and Sidcup MP James Brokenshire

A special ceremony was held at Guy’s Cancer at Queen Mary’s Hospital to unveil new artwork in memory of June Casson, with James Brokenshire MP among those paying tribute, on Friday (19 October).

As chair of its Patient Reference Group, June championed the voice of her fellow cancer patients in the design of the cancer centre in Sidcup, which opened last year. A retired civil servant from Downham, she passed away in January aged 69.

The centre is run by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust on the Queen Mary’s Hospital (QMH) site so that patients can receive treatment closer to where they live instead of travelling into central London.

In a fitting tribute to June's work, Guy's Cancer at QMH revealed that more than 22,000 patient appointments had taken place in its first year of operation – saving approximately 550,000 miles of travelling. This includes 11,500 radiotherapy treatments and 10,600 chemotherapy appointments.

More than 2,200 people had also visited the Dimbleby Macmillan Support Centre for cancer patients and their families, whilst 93.3% of patients were likely to recommend Guy’s Cancer at QMH to a friend or family member.

Local MP, James Brokenshire, carried out the official ground-breaking ceremony with June in 2014 and performed the official opening in 2017. Speaking at the unveiling he said: “It was a privilege to join June Casson in breaking the ground to mark the start of the construction of the Guy’s Cancer Centre at Queen Mary’s. June’s advocacy and leadership of the Patient Reference Group was instrumental in seeing that the centre was designed with the needs of patients at the forefront.

“It is hugely fitting that this artwork will continue to underline the important contribution June made and how patients will benefit for years to come.”

The etching ‘City of Gold’ by London based artist Karen Keogh will hang in the lobby of Guy’s Cancer at QMH and was chosen because June loved London.

Dr Anne Rigg, Clinical Director for Oncology at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “June was a very special person who did so much for cancer patients over the years. Before becoming chair of the Patient Reference Group she championed improving communication skills for doctors and nurses and worked with the Citizens Advice Bureau and Macmillan to support patients having access to benefits advice when they can’t work.

“It’s a fitting tribute to have this amazing piece of art to remember June by.”

Guy’s Cancer at QMH is part of a £30 million redevelopment of the Sidcup hospital site by Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust which owns and manages it. The vision for its future is as a hub for services run by providers including Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and other local trusts.

Last updated: October 2018

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