It was a morning of celebrations on Friday at Fareham Community Hospital as the MP for Fareham, Suella Braverman, officially unveiled a new chemotherapy unit run by Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust.
With the demand on cancer services growing year on year and more patients needing treatment at Queen Alexandra Hospital, the new ten-station unit will help ease those pressures by offering additional capacity.
Heather Narey, matron, said: “The number of patients being diagnosed with cancer goes up by eight per cent each year, so the main unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital is very busy, with increasing demands. Opening this new unit will greatly improve the patient experience, bringing treatment closer to home, in a quieter and welcoming environment.”
One patient who has greatly benefited from the opening is 36-year-old Claire McGlone, from Locks Heath. After her diagnosis of breast cancer in November 2021, Claire was attending QA for treatment before being transferred to Fareham Community Hospital.
She said: “I wasn’t completely shocked by my diagnosis because I have seen many relatives go through the same journey, but that didn’t stop me thinking of the worst-case scenario. The team has been fantastic and for what I thought the experience was going to be like in my head, they have really got me through.
“Being able to come to Fareham Community Hospital for treatment has been much easier. You feel like you’re here for a much shorter amount of time and it’s nice being able to get to know other patients from your local area. I’m very grateful.”
Running the new unit is unit manager Maria Pittman, who said: “I'm so proud of the opening it makes such a difference to patients. Our capacity at Queen Alexandra Hospital is increasing more and more, we need to treat more patients so this will have such a positive impact. Not only for our main hospital unit but also for patients who can now access treatment closer to their homes.”
Supporting the project was Portsmouth Hospitals Charity who funded over £27,000 worth of enhancements across the unit. To make the unit as relaxing as possible, volunteers from Friends of Fareham Community Hospital also helped to transform the outside space so patients have something nice to look at while receiving treatment.
Anne Ford, chair of Friends of Fareham Community Hospital, commented: “The Friends of Fareham Community Hospital are really invested in the hospital to make the experience for patients the best it can be. We have some really lovely volunteers, who helped to tidy up the garden space outside the new unit, providing a more calming and welcoming environment.”
Commenting Suella said:
“I was honoured to cut the ribbon and unveil Fareham Community Hospital’s new chemotherapy unit on Friday. It is incredible to see my Future Vision for FCH being implemented and this would not have been possible without the incredible cooperation of the Friends of Fareham Community Hospital and the Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust.
The new chemotherapy unit will vastly improve travel times for patients locally, whilst also offering a new and up to date ten-station capacity. I am inspired by the hard work of both the NHS staff and friends of the hospital, who have come together to create a space that is first and foremost tailored to patient needs.”