Distinguished Leeds-born playwright and broadcaster Alan Bennett has lent his distinctive voice to an information video aimed at cancer patients being treated at the city’s St James’s University Hospital.
The video is aimed in particular at patients due to undergo radiotherapy, and provides them with range of information about what to expect when they visit the £230 million St James’s Institute of Oncology in the hospital’s Bexley Wing.
This includes details of the different types of radiotherapy treatment available, as well as giving patients an insight into what to expect during their appointment, the procedures they may undergo, and what some of the high-tech radiotherapy equipment looks like from a patient perspective.
The video – launched in what is the national Year of Radiotherapy – was the brainchild of consultant clinical oncologist, Catherine Coyle, who is one of a number of “talking heads” from the Leeds Teaching Hospitals who appear in the film, linked together with Alan Bennett’s narrative.
For the video we wanted to find a friendly, reassuring and local voice to help put viewers at their ease, and Alan Bennett was suggested. We were absolutely thrilled when he said yes, and he was delightful when he came to the hospital to record his contribution.
Radiotherapy is invaluable in the fight against cancer but understandably many of our patients are apprehensive about it and a little bit frightened and unsure what to expect. We wanted this video to give them an insight into what to expect and a preview of some of the key areas of the hospital they will see, and some of the friendly faces who will help them on their journey.
Patients from across Yorkshire are treated in our centre and many of them who come for the first time are surprised at how new and spacious the facilities are and the unrivalled range of equipment we have at our disposal, including some very advanced techniques such as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and our gamma knife. We hope this video will give them both the reassurance and information to make their treatment as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
Filmed by the hospital’s Medical Illustration department, the video features actors playing the part of radiotherapy patients, with one undergoing a scan with staff positioning laser beams, which are used to ensure treatment is pinpointed as accurately as possible. It also demonstrates how the scans are interpreted to plan the most appropriate treatment for that individual.
The video is available on the Leeds Teaching Hospitals website by clicking on