Cancer treatment boosted by opening of new purpose-built centre

  • Video report from ITV News Meridian's Richard Slee

The legacy of Covid-19 means that many hospitals are still dealing with major disruption to their cancer services, with late diagnosis and extended waiting lists. 

Some hospitals are struggling to treat half of their patients within the target time of two months. 

But there's good news for people being treated in Southampton. A new purpose built centre is about to open, with double the number of consulting rooms for the ten thousand patients who use the service every year.

Long-standing cancer patient Jackie Ridout cut the ribbon, officially opening the new facility. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Cutting the ribbon on this new, purpose-built facility are two long-standing cancer patients, including Jackie Ridout. Jackie has been treated in Southampton since 2016.

First at the old unit in this hospital, and more recently at the Spire hospital which helped out during the pandemic.

Now she has been shown around the new unit and is delighted to see it about to open.

  • Cancer patient Jackie Ridout gives her verdict on the new centre

She said: "It's a lot brighter, a lot roomier and the place we went to before, although it was very welcoming and I felt it was like a safe haven for me, it was just over-crowed all the time".

The facility will give the hospital much needed extra capacity for cancer treatment Credit: ITV News Meridian

This facility is much bigger that the old unit. There are double the number of consulting rooms, and twenty seven larger treatment bays where patients will receive their chemotherapy.

When asked if the new unit will make an extra difference to not only patients but staff, Jenny Milner, the Lead Matron for cancer care, said: "A huge difference for staff, we have a purpose built staff room here now, we have a larger treatment room".

  • Tim Iveson, Professor of Gastro Intestinal Oncology

Every year the Southampton unit treats more cancer patients, and there was no let up during the pandemic, with not one day of treatment lost. But the man in charge here says there was some uncertainty about its future location. 

Time Iveson, Professor of Gastro Intestinal Oncology, says: "We had to move out very quickly to go to Spire and because of social distancing we weren't able to move back to that old space because there wasn't sufficient space there to deliver the treatments".

"I knew we would have a home to come back to, I didn't know where it would be but I'm delighted it is this new facility".

Prof Tim Iveson and nurses take a look around the new unit Credit: ITV News Meridian

It's taken just a few months to build this unit and it does have the appearance of a temporary structure, but it's what happens inside that's important and the first patients will arrive on Monday.