In the next of our series ‘Spotlight on staff’ we caught up with Dr Richard Simcock, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, to find out a little more about his role and how the Sussex Cancer Fund has helped.
What is your role at the hospital?
As a Clinical Oncologist I prescribe chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments. I work at the Cancer Centre in Brighton and at the Park Centre for Breast Care. I see patients with breast cancer and patients with head and neck cancer.
How long have you worked here?
16 years as a Consultant. I first came to work on the breast surgery ward in Brighton as a medical student in 1992 and then came back to work on the Cancer ward here in Brighton as a junior doctor in 1995. I came back as a Specialist Registrar as part of my oncology training in 2000 and then came here to work as a Consultant in 2004. I think my career history proves I liked the place!
What is the best bit about your job?
It’s exciting to be in a field of medicine that has so many exciting new developments in radiotherapy, chemotherapy, imaging technology and now immunotherapies but the people are what make it special. I feel a double privilege in being able to work with a number of great colleagues across a number of different disciplines but also to work closely with patients and their families to get the best results we can.
We have an amazing team at the Cancer Centre amongst the staff seeing patients but also a very talented and dedicated crew of engineers, physicists, dosimetrists and pharmacists who make sure that we are able to give the most optimum treatment, without them we really can’t do very much. Our admin teams work hard to make the unit works as efficiently as possible under some very difficult circumstances at times.
What is your connection with the Sussex Cancer Fund?
I have been a Trustee of the fund ever since I became a Consultant. I remember some of the first meetings when Dr George Deutsch proposed the building of the Horizon Centre – I’m still very proud to see it there.
How has the Sussex Cancer Fund helped you?
I have asked the SCF for help with equipment purchases over the years – items which make important differences to patients going through treatment – for example the nebulisers which really help patients with sticky mucus during head and neck radiation. I am very persuaded that exercise is an important part of supporting patients in treatment and the SCF recently purchased leg exercisers to keep muscles moving, even during chemotherapy. In recent years the SCF has also been able to fund important local research which will help cancer patients on a much larger scale and the car park is of daily benefit to many patients.
Have you done any fundraising for the Sussex Cancer Fund? If so, what did you do?
Last year I joined the group abseiling from the i360. I signed up without thinking too much about it until the night of the ‘drop’ – there was plenty of banter and good humour amongst us fellow ‘droppers’ to put nervousness aside but the moment of going over the edge was still a test of nerve.
Here’s a pic of me showing the relief to be back on the ground!
Other than that I will always buy the cakes, especially Rose’s Lemon Drizzle.
How the Sussex Cancer Fund has made a difference.
From the car-park to our chemo unit and the development of the Horizon Centre and now research the SCF works to improve our cancer patients’ experience in every way they can.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our followers?
The SCF is a local charity and is able to be responsive to our population so if there are things that patients and their families and carers have identified that could make treatment better please let the charity know and get involved