A new Assessment Unit for emergency patients at Velindre Cancer Centre in Whitchurch, Cardiff will be officially opened on 12 September with help from Macmillan Cancer Support.
The unit, which will provide a rapid assessment for emergency cancer patients on arrival at Velindre, has four dedicated beds and a team of highly trained health professionals is being developed in partnership with Macmillan Wales.
The ‘one stop shop’ will benefit emergency cancer patients who are transferred to the Assessment Unit following a call to the treatment support line; or patients transferred from a local hospital who require emergency radiotherapy; or patients who might become acutely unwell during a routine visit to Velindre.
By providing one dedicated unit to deal exclusively with cancer emergencies, the process of assessing patients and providing rapid treatment will be streamlined meaning more patients can receive the treatment they need more quickly.
The new Assessment Unit’s team will include a senior doctor and senior expert nurses highly trained in both cancer and emergency care. They will co-ordinate decision making across the Cancer Centre within four hours of a patient arriving.
£535,000 has been invested in the unit, £340,000 of which has been donated by Macmillan Wales.
Macmillan Acute Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Ceri Stubbs who will be working on the unit said:
“We do as much as we can to provide the best possible care at Velindre. The new Assessment Unit means patients can now be sent to us for unplanned emergency treatment if they become unwell due to their cancer or because of side effects of their treatment. We will have all the right people in one place so that we can assess their needs and make decisions about their treatment as quickly as possible.”
Consultant Oncologist, Dr Hilary Williams who will also work on the unit said:
“We already work closely with the acute cancer teams in local hospitals and those working in the community who work extremely hard in managing emergency cases. The new Assessment Unit at Velindre Cancer Centre will enable us to streamline the care and treatment we provide for our emergency patients. We aim to provide more rapid transfer of patients requiring emergency radiotherapy and with our dedicated team together in one place at Velindre, can provide much quicker decisions about emergency treatment.”
The unit will be officially opened by Steffan Lewis AM, at a special ceremony on 12 September 2018. Mr Lewis AM aged 34, was diagnosed with stage four cancer in December 2017 and is a patient at Velindre Cancer Centre.
Mr Lewis said: “The opening of this assessment unit at Velindre marks another step forward and expansion in the range and quality of cancer services being made available to patients in Wales.
“I have personally experienced the outstanding care offered at Velindre as an inpatient and know that the same level of dignity and compassion, which is central to Velindre’s ethos, will characterise the new unit too.
“I’m delighted that this ‘one stop shop’ for emergency patients will lead to an enhanced and faster service for patients.”
Dr Williams went on to say “Opening the unit is a real testament to our staff who are a constantly striving to provide the best treatment for our patients as quickly and effectively as possible. It’s also thanks to the very generous donation given to us by Macmillan Wales.”
Head of Services for Macmillan in Wales, Richard Pugh said: “The new unit continues Macmillan’s long history of investment into services at Velindre, and it represents a unique approach by locating a wider therapies team within an acute health care setting – the aim being to improve treatment and care for cancer patients.
“Our investment focusses on providing a dedicated dietetic, occupational therapy and physiotherapy service – so from start to finish the new team will be on hand to help speed up initial assessments, put detailed care plans in place, and support people with cancer to return home as soon and as safely as possible so they can maintain their independence for longer.”
Andrea Hague, Director of Cancer Services at Velindre Cancer Centre said:
“This is great example of how Velindre Cancer Centre is continuously improving its working practices to offer an even better service for cancer patients.
“Our dedicated team in the new unit will be able to carry out thorough assessments and tests to quickly develop a tailored plan of care and treatment for those patients who need prompt assessment for acute symptoms, either due to their cancer or their treatment.”