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New chemotherapy unit opens

Published: 14/01/2009

The unit is bright and airy with comfortable treatment and waiting areasPeople with cancer in Warrington and Halton have received a major boost with the opening of the new CANtreat chemotherapy centre at Halton General Hospital. Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust provides the service in partnership with Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology NHS Foundation Trust. The unit was part funded through CANtreat – a cancer charity that specialises in funding improved environments for chemotherapy patients in the North West region.

Cancer rates In Halton are significantly higher when compared to the average national rate so local services are key. If you’re a male from Halton you have 17% higher chance of dying from cancer when compared to England as a whole. If you are female from Halton there is a 31% higher chance.

Around 20 to 30 patients a day with a range of solid tumour cancers such as lung, colorectal, breast and upper gastro intestinal cancers can now receive treatment at the hospital.

There are many types of chemotherapy treatments using different drugs that are specially prepared for each patient. Some patients need a simple injection of a drug that can take a few minutes to complete but many chemotherapy treatments require infusions through a drip that can take several hours. The unit has been designed to provide a bright and comfortable environment for providing the treatment and means that more Halton patients don’t have to travel over to Clatterbridge on the Wirral for their treatment. It will also mean that clinics in temporary accommodation at Warrington Hospital can be moved to the new purpose designed unit at Halton.

The team do the final prep for the drugs in the prep roomThe CANtreat unit is run by a mix of nurses and consultants from Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology. The drugs are prepared in advance at Clatterbridge and brought over to Halton for each clinic. The unit has a large open area with reclining seats for providing the treatment as well as a comfortable waiting area, nurse’s station, clinic room, drug preparation area and even a relative’s room.

It is located in the former critical care area at the hospital and has expanded greatly on the number of patients who can be seen at the hospital. It is linked to the Delamere Cancer Centre on the site. The hospital has exciting plans to turn the old smaller chemotherapy room in the Delamere into a complementary therapies suite that will be open five days a week and will allow patients to receive a range of treatments to support their care.

“The new unit is fantastic,” explains Karen Mason, cancer lead manager for Warrington and Halton Hospitals, “Patients can come in, see the doctor, have their bloods taken and then receive their treatment in comfort. It’s purpose built for their needs, it’s comfortable and it is close to where they live which means that we can make what can be a very difficult course of treatment much easier for people. It greatly expands the cancer service we can offer local patients from Runcorn, Widnes and the surrounding areas.”

Kim Barrow, chemotherapy clinical services manager at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, said, “This is such an exciting opportunity to work in partnership with our colleagues to ensure that patients are treated locally to where they live whilst ensuring they receive their treatments from chemotherapy experts.”

There is an examination room for patients as part of the new unitOver £100,000 for the £200,000 plus project to redesign the area and bring it into use was raised by local fundraising led by CANtreat. However, the fundraising hasn't stopped and the charity wants local people to keep on giving to help further improvements at the unit.

Chris Eyres from CANtreat said: “We’re very proud to have played a major part in the funding of this improved service which has been much appreciated by the patients and nurses using the new facility. Our aim is to improve the environment in which patients receive their chemotherapy to give them a positive attitude in fighting the disease.

“The unit ticks most of the boxes in this regard and we are delighted with the outcome. Raising £100,000 for the project has been a great achievement, thanks to all concerned, and we hope to provide funds to improve the CANtreat Chemotherapy Unit still further when funds come in.”

Donations can be made on line at or by cheque to CANtreat Ltd, PO Box 805, Warrington WA1 1ZS.

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