Hebrides Today

News from the Western Isles

Isles' cancer treatment service returns

Posted by Editor On March - 1 - 2009


A chemotherapy service is to be re-introduced at the Uist and Barra Hospital - the service had been axed in 2002.


The move comes hot on the heels of a series of public meetings which were held to find out how healthcare in the region could be improved.


Patients previously had to travel to Stornoway, Inverness or Glasgow for the treatment and it is expected that the new service will help around a dozen patients a year.


Macmillan lead cancer nurse Gill Chadwick said: “We will be able to provide this service one day a week in Uist and Barra Hospital, depending on the number of suitable patients.


“There is an identified room in the hospital for day-case chemotherapy administration, and the development is likely to benefit about 12 people a year from the Uists and Barra.”


Two specialist nurses have been identified to provide the chemotherapy. The Macmillan Nurses on Benbecula will provide the essential checks with the chemo-nurse prior to administration.


Ms Chadwick said: “In practical terms, the new service means that patients will have their chemotherapy prescribed by their oncologist, then the drugs will be ordered by the pharmacy department at the Western Isles Hospital and delivered to Uist and Barra Hospital.


“When the drugs need to be kept refrigerated, they will be stored in a dedicated chemotherapy drug fridge, which was bought from a donation by the local Eaval Club, for which we are extremely grateful.”


Essential pre-treatment blood tests will be carried out locally and analysed at the Western Isles Hospital before the go-ahead for a cycle of treatment is given.


But, because some drugs have a very short shelf-life, which will prevent their use on Benbecula due to delivery times, patients that need them will have to travel to other cancer treatment centres.


Health board chief executive Gordon Jamieson also said: “We are always aiming to improve the services we offer patients, and the reintroduction of chemotherapy services in Uist and Barra Hospital improves access for patients, and means less travelling for treatment.”


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