Chemo unit plans are close to completion

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- Credit: Archant

Work set to start on new treatment centre this summer.

WORK on a new chemotherapy and day treatment unit at North Devon District Hospital is set to start as early as this summer.

In a little over two years since an appeal was launched by the North Devon Gazette, local people have raised an astonishing £1.48 million towards the £2.2million target.

The plans have already been signed off by the project team and hospital bosses are expected to rubber stamp the final design in the coming weeks.

Outline planning permission is currently being sought from North Devon Council.

Sharon Bates, directorate general manager, said there was a real ‘buzz’ around the hospital now the project had reached such a crucial stage.

“There is a real feeling of excitement among the staff in the existing unit and the patients who use it,” she said.

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“People can see that there is a timescale in place and that this is going to happen. It really does feel very real now.

“We have been working with architects from David Wilson Partnership and now have an agreed plan in place that gives us everything we originally wanted.”

The new chemotherapy unit will replace the outdated and cramped facilities on Level 2 with a brand new stand-alone space alongside, and linked to, the main hospital building.

It will have its own entrance and drop-off point; reception and waiting area; consulting rooms for haematology and oncology outpatients; two open plan rooms for chemotherapy and other treatment; as well as two separate en-suite treatment rooms.

Other features include pre-treatment rooms; a quiet room; staff room; and courtyard area.

Architect David Wilson said it was a ‘real privilege’ to have been selected to carry out the design of the new unit.

“We know that this project is close to many people’s hearts and that with so many people putting their time and efforts into fundraising, they will be looking for a special building as a result.

“As well as being cost effective and fulfilling the functional and clinical requirements, the centre will offer a reassuring and calm environment.

“Bringing sunlight into the building and the development of external landscaped areas will form an important part of the design process.”

Mr Wilson said the unit would be built to strict NHS requirements and would be efficient to run and maintain.

He added: “The challenge for us as designers is to go beyond this and ensure that we produce not only a building that clinicians think works well, but one the people who have worked so hard to fundraise for are proud of.”

Mrs Bates said building work would take up to 12 months to complete.

“We are currently in the planning submission stage and hope to start actual building in the summer,” she said.

“Hopefully, once building work beings, it will encourage more contributions and help us to get to our target by the end of the year.

“If the fundraising continues to come in as it has been, then we estimate that we should reach the £2.2m target by December this year.”

To help with the final push, the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust Charitable Fund team has launched a ‘Virtual Wall’ scheme.

Supporters can buy ‘bricks’ for an on-line wall, adding their own message and seeing it appear on the appeal web page. Bricks are available to buy by clicking on the link at the top right of this page.

Fundraising officer Julie Whitton said:

“This is a very exciting time for the appeal and thanks to the overwhelming generosity of the people of North Devon we have already raised £1.48million

“People are really behind us and we are determined to meet our £2.2million target by the end of the year.”

? To get involved, contact Julie Whitton on 01271 311772 or email juliewhitton@nhs.net

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