Surrey Herald/News - - NEWS - By Char­lotte Tal­bot

A NEW chemo­ther­apy ser­vice has been launched at Ash­ford Hos­pi­tal to al­low peo­ple leav­ing nearby to re­ceive treat­ment with­out hav­ing to travel much fur­ther to spe­cial­ist cen­tres. What is re­garded as an im­por­tant mile­stone is due to a joint project be­tween Ash­ford and St Peter’s Hos­pi­tals and The Royal Sur­rey County Hos­pi­tal NHS Foun­da­tion Trust ahead of their planned merger next year. The ser­vice was of­fi­cially launched last week. Sarah Bur­ton, Macmil­lan lead nurse for can­cer and pal­lia­tive care at Ash­ford & St Peter’s Hos­pi­tals, said: “Tra­di­tion­ally, pa­tients from the Ash­ford area would have to travel to Guild­ford (St Luke’s) around the M25 or into London for their treat­ment, with ex­pen­sive travel costs. “Fac­ing th­ese jour­neys when you are re­ceiv­ing chemo­ther­apy is tough; be­ing able to of­fer the same ser­vice that is pro­vided at a spe­cial­ist can­cer cen­tre on your doorstep can make a real dif­fer­ence to pa­tients hav­ing to cope with dif­fi­cult and stress­ful treat­ments. “This joint ser­vice means we can bring the ex­per­tise of the spe­cial­ist on­col­o­gists from The Royal Sur­rey County Hos­pi­tal to Ash­ford Hos­pi­tal, where pa­tients are able to re­ceive their treat­ments sup­ported by our own spe­cial­ist nurs­ing team.” She said the project has started with breast can­cer pa­tients, but plans are in place to widen it to peo­ple with other forms of can­cer, start­ing with lung can­cer. The chemo­ther­apy is ad­min­is­tered in the new in­fu­sion suite at Ash­ford Hos­pi­tal by mem­bers of the spe­cial­ist nurs­ing team. The suite, opened just un­der two years ago, is a pur­pose-built fa­cil­ity kit­ted out with the lat­est high-tech equip­ment needed to de­liver com­plex treat­ments. Suzanne Rankin, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ash­ford and St Peter’s, said: “This project marks an im­por­tant mile­stone in the de­vel­op­ment of our joint clin­i­cal vi­sion be­tween Ash­ford & St Peter’s Hos­pi­tals and The Royal Sur­rey County Hos­pi­tal. “Not only does it mark an ex­cit­ing fu­ture for Ash­ford Hos­pi­tal, but by bring­ing to­gether our re­spec­tive ex­per­tise and tal­ents we can of­fer tan­gi­ble ben­e­fits to pa­tients right across West Sur­rey. “Through the merger we want to de­velop Ash­ford Hos­pi­tal as a planned surgery and di­ag­nos­tic cen­tre where we can ex­pand treat­ments and out­pa­tient care for peo­ple with can­cer, in­clud­ing fur­ther chemo­ther­apy ser­vices and even ra­dio­ther­apy.” Nick Moberly, chief ex­ec­u­tive at The Royal Sur­rey County Hos­pi­tal, at­tend­ing the launch last week, added: “I am de­lighted to see the re­sults of our part­ner­ship and im­pressed by what we are able to do for pa­tients in this part of Sur­rey.

“This joint ser­vice is a tes­ta­ment to what we can achieve to­gether and sets the bar high for our de­vel­op­ing plans as we move closer to merg­ing our two suc­cess­ful Foun­da­tion Trusts.” Ac­cord­ing to a hos­pi­tal spokesman work is pro­gress­ing on the merger be­tween Ash­ford and St Peter’s Hos­pi­tals and The Royal Sur­rey County Hos­pi­tal NHS Foun­da­tion Trusts, with the ear­li­est go-live date set at June next year. This will be de­pen­dent on a num­ber of reg­u­la­tory ap­provals and the Trusts’ own de­tailed im­ple­men­ta­tion plans.

Top team: From left, Peter Dunt, Heather Caudle, Aileen McLeish, Char­lotte Free­man, Ca­role Red­fern,

Dr David Fluck, Sarah Bur­ton, Carey Har­netty, Faithe Cock­roft, Nick Moberly, and Suzanne Rankin

at the launch last week.

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