Bold plans to create a bigger and better unit for cancer patients needing chemotherapy will be considered by hospital bosses at the end of January.

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Cramped conditions on the ward at the Heath Road trust mean patients are often treated in the corridors and relatives and friends are unable to support people through their often long and gruelling treatment.

And with rising cases of cancer and a growing population, the hospital are today looking at three options enhance care for patients so they can maintain their dignity and lessen their discomfort.

The first is to build a new pharmacy preparation area to produce the drugs needed for chemo, as well as improving the existing day unit.

Option two is to build an extension to expand the day unit and include a pharmacy area within that.

Finally the hospital board will consider the option of building a large two-storey building next to the existing Woolverstone Wing at the north end of the Heath Road site.

A hospital spokeswoman told The Star: “Our existing day centre in the Woolverstone Wing, the hospital’s cancer centre, is no longer big enough for our growing population.

“We have been working for some time to explore all the options to expand and enhance our existing day centre for patients receiving chemotherapy and haematology treatments.

“A key consideration for the Board will be the safety of patients and improving their experience, as well as making sure the proposals are affordable.”

Backing the plans for improving the unit, David Dyer, a member of the hospital’s Cancer Services User Group said a new facility will have a “tremendous impact” on patient care.

“At the moment with the incidence of cancer rising, of course there are more and more people requiring chemotherapy at the unit,” he said.

“A new facility will make life a lot more comfortable for patients as well as those nurses who care for people on the ward.”

He said conditions on the ward at the moment are “very cramped”, meaning patients are unable to invite friends or relatives along for support.

“From my experience patients having chemo often need to be on the ward for quite some time,” Mr Dyer added.

“It is nice to have a relative or friend with you at your bedside. “And for a spouse or carer a cancer diagnosis is often very difficult because it is happening to their partner. All a spouse will feel they can do is support their partner.

“At the moment there is not enough room in the unit for that to happen.

“A few years ago it was different and it made a real difference to those patients.

“I hope the new, bigger centre will make a wonderful difference to patients.”

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