THIS Saturday saw the official opening of the brand new cancer care unit built at Withybush Hospital thanks to the tireless work of local fundraisers.

More than 300 people attended the opening and got a first look at the Haematology and Oncology Day Unit.

The unit was officially opened by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Sara Edwards and will start taking patients next week.

Bernie George, Trustee of Withybush Hospital Cancer Day Unit Appeal said: “We are so pleased to have played our part in making this happen and it was great that so many of the people and organisations who have donated significant funds to our Appeal were able to be with us to celebrate the opening.

“Our charity was also pleased to be able to provide the Unit with a series of Pembrokeshire wall prints and two very innovative glass wall art pieces which we hope patients and their families will appreciate when they visit.”

Charities and fundraisers have been campaigning for many years for a new unit at the hospital and have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds.

More than £670,000 was raised for the project by the University Health Board’s Pembrokeshire Cancer Services Fund, Adam’s Bucketful of Hope and Withybush Hospital Cancer Day Unit Appeal. The estimated total cost of the project is in the region of £926,000, with the balance being met by the University Health Board’s discretionary capital monies.

Chris Evans-Thomas, Founder of Adam’s Bucketful of Hope Appeal added: “When I came in to see the unit and saw the state-of-the-art equipment and the beautiful art displayed throughout, I was overwhelmed and found the day a very emotional, but wonderful, experience. I would like to thank all our volunteers and the people of Pembrokeshire for their support over the years, as well as the staff who look after our loved ones - because of them all, patients will truly benefit from this magnificent facility, it really is out of this world.”

The unit has been designed to provide a better patient experience in a modern, purpose-built, fit for the future facility that is tailored for patients at different stages of cancer.

There is a purpose built treatment area for patients (including an isolation facility), a counselling/quiet room, a dedicated multi-disciplinary room with video-conferencing facilities which could reduce the need for staff and potentially patients to travel; increased consultant treatment rooms; a patient reception point and additional waiting areas.

Bernardine Rees, OBE, Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board warmly welcomed patients and their families, charity and fundraising representatives, staff and partners.

She said: “I’m delighted that so many people have come along today to see the new facilities for themselves and discover what this exciting new development will bring to the people of Pembrokeshire.

“I give my heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in this development – it’s a wonderful achievement which will benefit our local population for many years to come.”

Dr Iain Robertson-Steel, Hospital Director, said: “This new facility is a great asset for Withybush Hospital and for Pembrokeshire and we look forward to welcoming patients into the unit from 6 February.

“I wish to express my sincere gratitude to our staff, partners, charity and fundraising representatives in the local community who have made this happen for our local population.”