The Kolkata-Brighton Link was developed as a THET Link between Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and Cancer Centre Welfare Home and Research Institute, Thakurpukur in 2003.
Dr. Sankha Mitra initially visited the Cancer Centre at Thakurpukur biannually and gave lectures on Breast and Lung Cancer and book donations. An annual Excellence in Oncology course was started which became very popular. This was followed by a visit by a UK team including a Consultant Oncologist, senior radiographer and senior physicist and a hands on 3 D radiotherapy training workshop was organised for specialist registrars. Radiotherapy quality control was assessed and radiation protection advice was given. Over the last few years a needs assessment was undertaken and based on that, the decision to focus on palliative care and paediatric oncology was made. Last year , the first hands on palliative care workshop ( Train the trainers) in Eastern India was organised by a UK team of palliative care experts where about 150 delegates made up of a few palliative care doctors, mostly nurses and social workers attended. This was very well received. Collaborating with another organisation called IACA , of which Dr. Sankha Mitra is a life member an OPD Palliative Care Service with 2 doctors and nurses was set up. This has now expanded to a team of 6 doctors, 6 nurses and 1 social worker providing outpatient services , a five bed inpatient service and twice a week domiciliary palliative care service.
DEPARTMENT OF PALLIATIVE CARE, CANCER CENTRE WELFARE HOME AND RESEARCH INSTITUTE, THAKURPUKUR, KOLKATA
CCWHRI has started its Palliative Care Unit in August 2010 with a vision and a mission that looks ahead and recognizes the need to establish palliative care services as a basic need of the society. Initiative taken by CCWHRI in this regard has already started setting examples by extending free home care services to patients who have been sent home because of completion of curative treatment. Shortly it has started a new palliative care ward that provides solace to many patients who will require treatment for exacerbations. The patients in need for pain and palliative management referred from other units of the hospital are already at a good pace. The future sees through developing a referral centre and a nodal training centre for doctors, nurses and volunteers.
STAFF: At present – 6 doctors (1 Full time Palliative care specialist, 1 Medical Oncologist also trained in Palliative Care, 1 visiting Interventional Pain specialist, 1 visiting Radiation Oncologist, and 2 Medical Officers), 6 nurses (1 trained in palliative care, and 5 under training), and 1 medical social worker. Total staff strength – 14
WINGS: The palliative care centre has three wings – the OPD, the inpatient ward and the domiciliary care wing.
a) Outpatient department – Functions as a pain clinic from 10am to 5pm from Monday to Friday and two medical officers cater to the OPD patients.
b) Inpatient ward – It is situated just beside the palliative care OPD room. There are at present five beds with round the clock doctors and nurses for patient care. This will soon be integrated into a 30 bedded palliative care ward in a new set-up to be started from December 2011.
c) Domiciliary care – It is at present twice a week done by an interdisciplinary team of a doctor, nurse and social worker. The visits are free of cost for all patients. The large amounts of physician’s sample are given to poor patients who cannot afford to buy drugs.
MEDICATIONS: Morphine (10mg IR tablets and 30mg SR tablets) are being supplied free of cost to all patients who have been prescribed the drug.
FREE OF COST TREATMENT FOR THE VERY POOR: Many of the patients are not able to afford the burden of cost of the treatment. These special cases are waived off all the hospital charges.
COLLABORATIONS: The institute has collaborated with Organizations like the Kolkata-Brighton link run by Dr.Sankha Mitra Consultant Clinical Oncologist BSUH, Indo-American Cancer association, Helpage India and Global Cancer Concern India to deliver its palliative care services. It also has the support of Hitaishini, a breast cancer support group, for support and rehabilitation of such patients.
PALLIATIVE CARE HELPLINE : +919830021479
CONTACT PERSON – Dr. Sanghamitra Bora, Coordinator, PCU,
Any goods or services that help a cancer centre dedicated to serving the poor in eastern India and Kolkata are welcome.We are particularly looking for any charitable organisations that are involved in cancer care as well as for philantthropic businessmen who might be willing to invest in cancer care infrastructure for modest profit in collaboration with the cancer centre which is a not for profit organisation.
Dr Sankha Suvra Mitra
Consultant Clinical Oncologist
Sussex Cancer Centre
Royal Sussex County Hospital
Dr Arnab Gupta
Cancer Centre Welfare Home and research Institute
Please let us know of any furndng programmes from WHO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation etc for cancer screening, cancer prevention etc.