Beating cancer together

Brian Hedley and specialist nurse Barbara Stephenson.
Brian Hedley and specialist nurse Barbara Stephenson.

A PATIENT who battled back from bowel cancer has returned to hospital to help others with the disease.

Brian Hedley, from Morpeth, was diagnosed in November 2011 after a colonoscopy procedure at Wansbeck Hospital.

He went on to have specialist treatment on Ward 4 of the facility, followed by chemotherapy in the oncology unit.

The 57-year-old was so impressed by the outstanding care he received that when he recovered he contacted Patient Opinion, a national organisation that encourages people to give feedback on health services.

It put him in touch with Beating Bowel Cancer and last weekend Mr Hedley returned to the hospital, which is run by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, to share his story with 250 fellow patients and carers.

The awareness event also gave him the opportunity to thank staff for their care.

He said: “I was honoured to be asked to be part of this event and I’m only too happy to play a part in helping to fight the disease in some way by sharing my story.

“I cannot thank the staff at Wansbeck General Hospital enough — right from the moment I was diagnosed, the level of support, commitment and professionalism from every member of the team has been and continues to be outstanding.”

Nurse Barbara Stephenson, who broke the news of Mr Hedley’s cancer diagnosis to him, was particularly picked out for praise.

“She was compassionate yet totally professional,” said Mr Hedley.

“The time she gave in helping me come to terms with the outcome and to ask questions was hugely beneficial and reassuring. She and the other colorectal nurse specialist have been brilliant from day one.

“The region is lucky to have such dedication and commitment.”