Welcome to the OPA Support for Portsmouth (Charity Number 1062461)
We welcome anyone diagnosed with or recovering from Oesophageal and Gastric Cancer, we also welcome family members and friends/carers as we understand that this journey affects more than just the patient. Whatever your circumstances, we are here to support you. We meet quarterly at the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham. At our meetings you will have the opportunity to meet others in a similar situation to you, as well as their family members and those supporting them. Meetings are free to attend, and light refreshments are provided. Details of our meetings will be updated here regularly, and if you are already a member you will also receive information by post or email.
Contact Phil Coverdale on 01730 261 775
Our meetings take place at Queen Alexandra Hospital. As well as the chance to chat to fellow members and a question and answer session with an Upper GI Surgeon, we strive to give you a wonderful selection of guest speakers to ensure you get the very best from your meetings.
How to find us
By Car - Take exit 12 of the M27. On entering the QA Hospital site by car via the main entrance, the main multi-storey car park can be found on the left, with the north car park clearly sign posted.
By Public Transport - Bus and Train Services run regularly from Portsmouth and the surrounding areas, with some busses stopping on the Hospital grounds. You should select 'Cosham' as your stop, the Hospital is a 10 - 15 minute walk from the town centre and train station.
Queen Alexandra Hospital
Southwick Hill Road
Hampshire PO6 3LY
Who we are
The OPA-SPLASH group is made up of a mixture of current and former patients, their carers and close family members and friends. Our group members (both male and female) come from a wide range of backgrounds and occupations, and all have very different stories to tell. We all have one thing in common however, and that is we all aim to help and support each other, very much employing the ethos of the OPA - 'former patients helping current patients'. We are also very lucky in that representatives from The Queen Alexandra Hospital Upper GI team (including specialist nurses and surgeons) regularly attend our meetings and we are truly grateful to them for their continued support and advice.
We aim to help patients (and their families) pre and post treatment by offering support and guidance from those who have been in a similar situation themselves. We realise how important it is for our members to interact with each other, and dedicate part of our meetings to this so that life-long friendships can be formed. In addition to the national objectives of the OPA, we also hope to conduct a number of regional awareness initiatives, plans for which will be discussed at future meetings.
Our meetings are very informal and take place at Queen Alexandra Hospital. Each meeting typically lasts for 2 hours and gives attendees an opportunity to hear the latest news, share their experiences, and learn from others. There is no obligation for anyone to speak publicly (your level of participation is completely up to you). Going forward, we also hope to be able to offer inspiring and engaging presentations on a wide range of topics, by a number of carefully selected guest speakers. After the main meeting has ended, you are welcome to stay and talk to other patients (either in groups, or on a one to one basis ). Some attendees choose to stay on for lunch or a drink in the hospital restaurant. A typical meeting agenda is shown below.
- Welcome by Group Treasurer or Cancer Nurse Specialist
- Latest news and developments (e.g. new research findings and treatments)
- Group Chat/Interaction
- Guest Speaker
- Questions from the floor (Ask the surgeon)
- Closure by the Group Treasurer
How do I know when the next meeting is taking place?
Details of forthcoming meetings will be displayed on this page and will be posted or E-mailed to a mailing list of group members by our Secretary. If you would like to be added to this list, please contact us at the address at the bottom of this page. Where possible (to save on postage and administration costs) we would prefer to contact members by E-mail.
Can anyone attend?
Yes absolutely. We welcome patients from across the South of Hampshire, we also welcome visitors from further afield, including representatives from other OPA support groups. You do not have to be a patient to attend (you may be a partner, carer, friend or close family member for example). In fact we positively encourage non-patients to attend. Feedback from attendees suggests that carers (usually spouses or partners) looking after their loved ones can often learn a great deal from other carers (answers to questions such as "Is this symptom normal?" for example). We would also encourage GPs and medical professionals of all levels to attend.
How much does it cost?
Our meetings are absolutely free to attend and there are no 'membership' fees. Additional food and drink is available in the hospital restaurant. Any additional leisure activities organised by the group may incur an additional charge, however we will notify attendees of any costs prior to organising an event, and participation is optional.
What if I don't feel well enough to attend?
As former patients, we fully understand the difficulties you may be undergoing as a patient... be they physical, psychological or both. Whilst you might not feel like talking about cancer, wherever possible, we would encourage you to attend, as we are confident you will find our meetings both supportive and informative. From gaining tips on treatments, diet or relaxation techniques to knowing how to deal with some of the symptoms, you may be surprised at what you can learn by talking to another patient. You can also take comfort knowing that you are not going through the experience alone and that there are others who you can turn to for help, guidance and support. If you are too unwell to attend in person, please feel free to send someone else on your behalf (e.g spouse, friend, or family member).