Nearly £11m is being invested in a breast cancer ‘centre of excellence’ at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr in a bid to improve patient care.
The investment will bring together services and experts from across the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to provide outpatient care, diagnostic investigations and surgery for breast cancer.
The clinical teams from Nevill Hall and Royal Gwent Hospitals will come together to provide a more resilient and effective service, in a purpose built facility, that will better meet the needs of the people of Gwent.
Speaking on World Cancer Day today (February 4), Health Minister Eluned Morgan said the investment showed the Welsh Government’s commitment to improving cancer outcomes and supporting health boards to transform clinical services. It is hoped improving the efficiency of services will support efforts to cut waiting times for cancer care.
It comes as the latest NHS activity and performance data shows in November activity levels in cancer services increased, with the number of patients newly diagnosed with cancer who started their first definitive treatment increasing to the highest level since comparable data was first collected in June 2019.
Furthermore, the number of patients informed they did not have cancer increased on the previous month to the second highest level since this data first started being collected in December 2020.
The ambitious plans will improve quality and safety of care for breast service patients; provide a model of care for breast services that is sustainable and flexible to respond to future needs; maximises the use of available resources; and promote diagnosis and treatment in line with best practice.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said:
These ambitious plans will mean patients in Gwent will have better access to high quality care and more people affected by breast cancer can be managed on a day case basis and thereby avoid a hospital admission.
As we mark World Cancer Day, this is an opportunity to reflect on the significant impact cancer has on our society and highlight important investments that we are making to support better patient care. We will continue to give cancer services the focus they deserve as we emerge from the pandemic.
Interim Chief Executive of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Glyn Jones, said:
We are very grateful to Welsh Government for funding this incredible new facility, which will represent another key milestone in our Clinical Futures strategy. With the new centre serving as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for breast services, our specialist clinicians will be centralised in a purpose-built facility, where they will provide expert care to patients with breast cancer in one place. We look forward to seeing the construction of the facility progress over the coming months.
Mia Rosenblatt, Associate Director of Policy, Evidence and Influencing at Breast Cancer Now, said the near £11m investment was ‘fantastic news’:
Investments such as this are vital in helping to achieve ambitions to improve experiences and outcomes for patients. It is also an important opportunity to help address broader retention and recruitment issues across the cancer workforce and protect cancer services at a time where they face huge challenges in tackling the backlog of treating people coming forward with a breast cancer diagnosis.