Patient Richard Connor
Cancer patients needing protective isolation will be treated and recover in state-of-the-art rooms which they have helped design, as part of a new Stem Cell Transplant Unit.
Plymouth will also be able to expand its stem cell transplant service, offering unrelated donor stem cell transplants, thanks to the multi-million investment.
Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust is investing £2.7million in new facilities which will include 10 new single rooms for patients who need protective isolation because their immune systems are depleted due to chemotherapy treatment.
Patients with acute leukaemia or lymphoma and those undergoing stem cell transplants because of bone marrow failure need protective isolation for weeks at a time. Now they will be able to be treated and recover in private, state-of-the-art isolation rooms with full en-suite facilities.
Expanding our Service
Patients needing protective isolation include around 15 new patients per year who are diagnosed with acute leukaemia and a further 60 who need stem cell transplants, either using their own stem cells (45 patients) or those of a sibling (15 patients).
The investment and expansion will also mean that Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust can now offer transplants using stem cells from unrelated, altruistic donors. Currently, around 15 patients per year travel to Bristol or London every year for this treatment.
Dr Hunter continued: “This is a real improvement and a real development and we are doing it in such a way that we can carry on providing services for patients whilst we create the new unit. We are starting work soon with a view to completing everything by the summer of 2013.”
From a Patient Perspective
Patient Richard Connor has bone marrow cancer. He said: "I had my first stem cell transplant in July 2008. That gave me about 20 months of remission. Then it relapsed and I had several drug treatments. The latest lasted for about 14 months, then the myeloma came back and I've been treated since March with a view to having a stem cell transplant. I am having more treatment and hopefully I will walk out of here and have another period of remission."
Richard welcomed the improvements and said: "It will be excellent. If you imagine being in isolation, you need an en-suite shower. You are trying to avoid infections and you want a shower in your own room. The idea is you are not meant to leave the room, so it stands to reason you want everything to be self-contained and with enough space.
"I am very happy with the treatment I've had from everyone. It's about your life, this thing."