On May 7 Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust held a socially distant ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially unveil the newly built pharmacy aseptic unit at Weston Park Cancer Centre.
The new, larger, cutting-edge facilities will allow more tailor-made chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments to be prepared on site, enabling Weston Park Cancer Centre to meet the increased demand for cancer treatments and therapies and ensure patients receive ‘timely and personalised care’.
Kirsten Major, Chief Executive for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am delighted to officially open our state-of-the-art pharmacy aseptic unit, which together with recent improvements in facilities at Weston Park Cancer Centre, represents a significant step in our ambitious plans to transform the future of cancer services across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.
"The unit will play an important role in ensuring even more cancer patients have access to timely, personalised treatments as well as support the development of exciting new therapies and cancer treatments.”
Dr Jackie Martin, Consultant Clinical Oncologist and Clinical Director, Weston Park Cancer Centre, said: “Personalised cancer medicines are becoming increasing important in delivering high quality cancer care, so this new unit will help us meet the increased demand for specialist cancer treatments and future proof our role as a leading cancer centre.
"We will also be able to work more efficiently and flexibly to deliver critical medicines to patients and bring more clinical trials to the area, to the benefit of cancer patients in the region and beyond.”
This comes after Labour MP for Sheffield South East Clive Betts raised concerns about a backlog of cancer patients caused by delays to treatment while hospitals were filled with coronavirus patients.
Mr Betts said that there are a great number of cancer patients in Sheffield who are ‘worried and uncertain’ about when they will receive important treatments because they were delayed as the hospitals tried to cope with the demand placed on them by the pandemic.
He called on the Government to provide more funding to the NHS in order to help reduce this backlog.
The new facilities will also be key in supporting the development of ground-breaking clinical trials investigating gene therapies, which are set to play an important role in future cancer therapy, and other new and emerging treatments.
The new light and spacious facilities provide a more modern and comfortable environment for staff, too, with four pharmaceutical isolators installed to protect both the products and personnel as cytotoxic drugs can damage normal tissue as well as cancerous tissues.
Weston Park Cancer Centre is one of only four dedicated cancer hospitals in the country and treats patients from all over South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire and North Derbyshire – a population of almost 1.8 million people. The specialist Sheffield Trophoblastic Disease Centre, based at Weston Park, also provides care for patients in Carlisle and the North East, North Wales and as far down as Wolverhampton.