Colchester's first chemotherapy nurse retires after 40 years

Chris Campbell set up chemotherapy outpatient service that now treats 50 people a day at Colchester General Hospital

A cancer nursing pioneer who became the first dedicated chemotherapy nurse in his area is retiring after a 40-year career.

Chris Campbell set up and managed the outpatient chemotherapy service at Essex County Hospital in the early 1980s, at a time when most patients needed to stay overnight for treatment.

The service started out in a single room and saw around a dozen patients a week.

It now has a staff of 20 nurses treating up to 50 people every day in its current form at Colchester General Hospital.

Mr Campbell, who started his nurse training in 1976 at the Colchester District School of Nursing, also oversaw similar clinics at Clacton and Broomfield hospitals and ends his career as one of the longest serving nurses at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust.

He said: ‘I still enjoy it and know I’ll miss it, particularly the patients and colleagues, but now is the right time to retire and take it a bit easier.

‘What’s been wonderful for the patients have been the advances in antiemetic drugs – at the beginning, most patients were sick but now it’s only a few.’