Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU) has welcomed its first patients to its new chemotherapy unit at Fareham Community Hospital (FCH), bringing vital cancer services more locally to patients.
The Regional Cancer Centre, run by PHU, sees patients from across south east Hampshire and West Sussex. Covering a population of around 650,000 people, most patients in the region requiring chemotherapy must attend Queen Alexandra Hospital (QA) for treatment.
The demand on cancer services is growing year on year with new treatments becoming available and patients experiencing a longer life expectancy. The number of cancer survivors in the UK is projected to increase by approximately one million per decade, resulting in four million people living with cancer in 2030.
The opening of this new ten-station unit will offer up to 375 hours of treatment time per year, helping with the growing demand and providing a better experience for patients.
Hazel Hartnett, deputy divisional nurse director and senior matron for cancer, explained:
“Patients coming in for chemotherapy treatment often feel poorly and tired. Many patients have to rely on friends and family to take them in and drop them home, as the treatment can make them too sick to drive.
“Providing this service closer to patient’s homes could be transformative for them. The new unit will deliver effective treatment while reducing some of the anxieties and health burdens associated with treatments such as chemotherapy.”
Offering a modern and welcoming environment, the new unit has been supported by Portsmouth Hospitals Charity who have funded various enhancements across the unit. Over £27,000 worth of items, including reclining chairs, a blood fridge and home comforts like artwork, have been purchased to transform the unit.
Kate Sandys, head of Portsmouth Hospitals Charity, said:
“We’re thrilled to be part of this exciting development that benefits patients, their families and staff. This is a perfect example of how your generous donations can help enhance patient experience across the Trust, over and above NHS funding. Thank you to everyone that has shown their support.”
Also supporting the project through donations was Community Health Partnerships (CHP). Stephen Didcott, regional property contracts manager from CHP, said:
“I’m delighted CHP has been able to support and part fund the delivery of the new chemotherapy unit at Fareham Community Hospital. By working in collaboration with our NHS colleagues at PHU, and support from CHP’s local LIFT partner Solent Estates Partnership, the new unit will allow patients to access this vital service closer to home, reducing the need to travel afar.”
Many people have been involved in the project to get the unit up and running. Hazel added:
“It’s the end of the hard work from the team at PHU and Fareham to ensure that we got this project over the line. Without their commitment to see this project through we would not be in this exciting position.”
Running the unit will be a new team based at FCH, with the support of colleagues from QA.