Improving Breast Care Services At Prince Philip Hospital

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Plans to develop a centre of excellence for breast care services at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli have been approved by Health Minister Edwina Hart.

Work on the £6.6million Welsh Assembly Government-funded development, which has also benefited from an extra £850,000 worth of donations from the general public, will get under way with enabling works starting next month. The centre is expected to be open to patients by April 2010.

Measures will be put in place to ensure that current services are not affected during the construction.

Through a combination of refurbishment of the existing unit and new build, the space occupied by the breast care service would expand from 121sq meters to 1,294 sq meters.

The service would provide a one-stop-shop for patients with extra examination and consultation rooms, lymphoedema services, a dedicated mammography room and associated treatment rooms. This would negate the need for patients to travel to the hospital twice – once for mammograms and again for results and diagnosis.

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The Hywel Dda NHS Trust, which runs Prince Philip Hospital, is also finalising plans for the Health Minister's consideration for the development of a short-stay surgical unit.

Mrs Hart said: "Prince Philip Hospital already has an excellent reputation for its breast care services. This new development will cement that reputation and improve care to women by speeding up diagnosis and treatment and reducing the number of visits to hospital.

"Swift diagnosis and treatment reduces the anxiety experienced by patients and their carers and will reduce the devastating impact that cancer can have on individuals and families and friends.

"I look forward to receiving the final plans for the development of the short-stay surgical unit and endoscopy suite. This development, along with the developments with breast care services, will create a centre for surgical excellence at Prince Philip Hospital. This will help aid recruitment and retention and reduce waiting times which will ultimately improve patient care."

Consultant Surgical Oncologist Mr Simon Holt said: "We are very proud to be developing a world class breast diagnostic and treatment centre at Prince Philip Hospital, and are grateful to the Welsh Assembly Government for providing the funding to enable us to do so. I would like to add my personal thanks to the community for giving so generously and particularly to the patient liaison committee who have worked tirelessly both to raise money for the centre and to ensure the views of patients have been fully incorporated into the design of the new unit. The money raised by the community will enable us to buy the most up-to-date and modern equipment in the world."

Chris Martin, chair of the Hywel Dda NHS Trust, paid tribute to Mr Holt and his team. He said: "Mr Holt leads a team which is renowned as being amongst the best in the UK and indeed the world. I would like to thank Mr Holt for his leadership and dedication and also his staff for their hard work, loyalty and commitment to patient care. I would also like to thank contributors – the Welsh Assembly Government and local fundraisers, without whom this project would not have been made possible."

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