Ottery St Mary Hospital to become new cancer hub for patients and their families

Specialists from the Royal Devon & Exeter (RD&E) Hospital’s oncology department and charity FORCE will be working together within the unit. Credit: FORCE

A new cancer treatment centre will open eleven miles down the road from its former base in Honiton.

Ottery St Mary Hospital will have a dedicated unit which will allow for more people to access potentially life-saving treatments.

Chemotherapy sessions will also be available there for the first time.

Consultants and nurse specialists will also hold cancer clinics and FORCE (Friends of the Oncology and Radiotherapy Centre, Exeter), the area’s leading cancer support charity, will offer a variety of support services.

The new cancer unit will open for one day a week from tomorrow, November 20.

The plan is to increase services to five days a week, Monday to Friday, when staffing levels allow.

Chemotherapy has been available at Honiton Hospital at least once a week since October 2018 but the switch will allow the service can increase significantly.

Some of the services that will be available include counselling, complementary therapies, physiotherapy and exercise clinics. Credit: Google Earth

The RD&E’s lead cancer nurse Tina Grose said: "The decision was therefore made to consolidate existing outreach into one location which allowed us to expand, bringing alongside key services such as clinics, FORCE, the Living with and Beyond Cancer programme and enhanced supportive care."

The charity says this will be a major boost for cancer patients in East Devon Credit: BPM Media / Devon Live

COVID-19 has brought some disruption to the RD&E’s delivery of chemotherapy in the wider community.

The service continued in Okehampton and temporarily increased to two days a week in Honiton.

The short-term suspension of chemo sessions in Tiverton is due to end this month.

FORCE now hopes to mirror many of the services it offers at its main centre in Exeter at the new East Devon hub.

These could include counselling, complementary therapies, advice and information sessions, physiotherapy and exercise clinics.

It is hoped that volunteers from the charity will also be involved when Covid-19 restrictions allow.

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