Breast patients across Herefordshire and Worcestershire can now benefit from £5 million worth of improvements across breast imaging services.
This month will see the formal opening of the newly completed extension of the Worcestershire Breast Unit at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, which also now incorporates additional screening and ultrasound facilities.
The expansion of services by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust will enable more screenings to take place, meaning patients awaiting diagnostic tests can be seen quicker. It also provides space for more support services to be run by the Worcestershire Breast Unit Haven charity.
Steven Thrush is the consultant breast surgeon who conceived the idea of the Worcestershire Breast Unit at Worcestershire Royal Hospital from which a capital campaign (which has since become the Worcestershire Breast Unit Haven charity) raised £1.5 million to build the unit.
He said: “In the six years since the unit opened, we continue to help more and more women and men across Worcestershire following a breast cancer diagnosis. This is largely due to the extra funds raised by The Worcestershire Breast Unit Haven charity. Indeed, the charity has made significant investment into this new extension, thanks to a donation from the Kildare Trust.
“As well as the screening areas in the new build, the Worcestershire Breast Unit Haven charity will be using the expanded space for more support services for patients including Pilates, mindfulness and nutritional courses and support group meetings.”
Building contractor Speller Metcalfe was responsible for the works, which were completed while the existing unit remained open so as not to disrupt services for current patients.
Small Works manager, Matthew Bailey said: “We are delighted to see the completion of this vital service realised, as the additional space will have an instant impact on the growing number of patients that the hospital can now support.
“It has also been an extremely positive project from a local point of view, with the majority of our workforce coming directly from Worcester and the surrounding areas.”
In addition to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital extension, three new mobile screening vans have also been provided to ensure new and improved screening technology is available and accessible to the eligible breast screening population across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
One of the vans will be permanently located at the Princess of Wales Community Hospital, Bromsgrove, with the other two vans replacing the previous vans which travel between Evesham, Malvern, Hereford, Tenbury, Bromyard, Ross-on-Wye and Leominster.
Other improvements include a brand-new breast imaging unit at the Alexandra Hospital, Redditch which opened to patients in February. The new purpose-built extension, which replaces the previous mobile breast imaging unit, incorporates two dedicated rooms for breast mammography and ultrasound scans and is located close to the breast surgery clinics to allow a seamless and accessible pathway for patients.
Tom Potts, Directorate Manager for Breast Services at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We are delighted to be providing these new state-of-the-art diagnostic facilities alongside our existing diagnostic and breast surgery service. The new facilities will support us in our purpose to put patients first by delivering safe, timely and effective breast services for patients in our hospitals and the wider community both now and into the future.”