East Sussex campus adapted to help 85 chemo patients a day

A college in Eastbourne has allowed its local hospital to relocate its chemotherapy unit to its campus to ensure cancer patients can be treated in a safe setting during the coronavirus pandemic.

East Sussex College’s Kings Building has been transformed to support the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and is currently used to treat, on average, 85 patients per day.

A spokesperson for the trust said the purpose of the move was to “protect the most vulnerable from entering the acute hospital” and to provide “additional bed capacity within the hospitals, should we have seen the Covid surge that we were expecting”.

The trust’s healthcare team had to make a number of adjustments to the college’s building, which is usually used for beauty courses, such as reviewing health and safety, fire safety, deep cleaning and security.

Becky Cavalier, head of nursing at the trust, said they are “extremely grateful to East Sussex College”.

“Everyone involved in organising this temporary relocation has been fantastic and pulled out all the stops to make it happen,” she added. “We were treating patients within a week of our first initial conversation with the college.”

And this is not all East Sussex College is doing to help the NHS during the current crisis.

Julian Kupper, an engineering tutor who teaches at the Ore Valley campus in Hastings, has been using his 3D printer at home to produce hundreds of protective face shields for local healthcare staff, alongside teaching his students online.

The first batch of 150 visors were delivered to Eastbourne District General Hospital on April 6.

Kupper said: “About four weeks ago it became evident to me that there would be an increasing and dire need for PPE and specialist medical equipment. I spent two days looking at what others were doing in different countries to tackle this issue and found a design for masks that I could produce using my 3D printer.”

He found a suitable design that met EU specification and began printing at his home at the end of March.

“I arranged for two of the college-owned printers to be delivered to my house and have spent time producing the visors and communicating with the local NHS trust and the exec team at the college.”

Kupper said he is determined to continue with the production of the masks until the demand begins to drop.

Pictured from left: Caroline, Jenny, Maria, Emma, Seena, Tracy, Lorraine from the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust chemotherapy team in East Sussex College