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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Bosses to present report on future of Barrow cancer unit

CONTROVERSIAL proposals for the future of cancer care at Furness General Hospital have been finalised, ahead of crunch talks to decide whether they get the green light.

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MEETING Juliet Walters, far left, and George Nasmyth, left, are to present a report to the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust board

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has published the FGH oncology and haematology services report within the papers for its board meeting tomorrow.

Bosses will be asked to approve plans to move the unit’s eight inpatient beds into ward nine, at a financial benefit of £374,000 a year. The £400,000 new dedicated unit, separate to the rest of the ward, would have eight permanent beds and the flexibility to expand to 12.

The paper says change is needed to cope with an increasing number of cancer patients and address the “cramped” environment in which day-care chemotherapy is provided.

It claims general medical patients account for half the Rosthwaite Oncology Unit’s occupancy and the move will make it easier for people to get treatment in the right place.

It says: “The preferred option must be seen primarily as an opportunity to increase the provision of day-case chemotherapy to the residents of the Barrow peninsula.

“An additional benefit is the relocation of the inpatient beds to ward nine that will enhance patient safety and experience.

“This proposal also fits within the wider context of the trust’s length of stay and bed occupancy reduction project and contributes to the 2013/14 trust efficiency plan.”

The report, prepared by a number of UHMBT’s clinicians, will be presented to the board by medical director, George Nasmyth, and chief operating officer, Juliet Walters.

The proposed new unit would consist of four side rooms and two two-bedded bays which could be increased to four. The rest of ward nine would cater for “step down cardiology” and “selected gastroenterology” cases.

The report says general medical patients may be admitted to the new unit “where required”.

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “I have written to board members asking them to take note of what our expert campaigners want to say at the meeting and flagging up my concern that infection control was apparently not cited among the key criteria in the options appraisal that will go to the board.

“It is essential that those who are being asked to make this important decision thoroughly satisfy themselves and can convince patients that infection risk will be lower under the new proposals than the status quo.”

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