New palliative care unit plan is approved
PLANS to develop a multimillion-pound centre for people needing end-of-life care have been approved.
Macmillan Cancer Support and Cwm Taf University Health Board have been given the go-ahead to build a specialist palliative care unit at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital near Llantrisant.
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council approved the health board’s plans at a development control committee meeting.
Macmillan plans to donate £5m to develop the state-of-the-art unit – its biggest single investment in Wales – with Cwm Taf contributing the further £1.75m subject to approval of a business case by the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport.
The specialist eight-bed unit will provide inpatient, outpatient and day palliative care and support for people with incurable cancer and other conditions.
Designed by architects who specialise in palliative care, it aims to provide a “warm, comfortable and welcoming environment” for people receiving treatment there and their loved ones.
Macmillan says the unit will feature communal spaces for patients and their family members and each room will have a private screened terrace, meaning patients can go outside if they wish to.
Palliative care for cancer patients in Rhondda and Taff Ely is currently provided at Y Bwthyn Pontypridd Cottage Hospital.
Although the quality of care at Y Bwthyn is known to be excellent, its location means that patients need to be transferred to Royal Glamorgan Hospital to access specialist tests and treatments, which can be difficult and distressing.
Similarly, some patients who go to Royal Glamorgan Hospital may benefit from being in a palliative care environment, but are too unwell to be transferred to Y Bwthyn.
Susan Morris, head of services for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, said: “Macmillan is thrilled that our plans with Cwm Taf to build a specialist palliative care unit – our biggest in Wales – have been approved.
“This new unit will provide a welcoming and homely environment for people receiving palliative care and their loved ones, and will make a huge difference to their experience of treatment and care.”
Dr Ian Back, consultant in palliative medicine at Cwm Taf University Health Board, said: “The new state-of-the-art specialist unit will be designed to provide patients with the high-quality care they need in a comfortable environment for both them and their loved ones.
“Building the new unit at Royal Glamorgan Hospital will also ensure that patients have access to specialist tests and treatment more easily without the need for unnecessary transfers between hospitals when they are often too unwell.”
John Palmer, director of primary, community and mental health services at Cwm Taf University Health Board, said: “We are delighted that these plans have been approved and that we can continue to build on our excellent relationship with Macmillan Cancer Support.
“The plan is for this unit to have a world-class addition to our rapidly developing palliative care service.”
Macmillan and Cwm Taf announced their plans to develop a new unit offering specialist palliative care at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in the new year.
It is hoped that preparatory work for the build will start in the autumn and that the building will open in 2019.