Cancer unit plans are put on hold

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I WRITE in response to the Herald column written by reporter Annemarie Field under the headline “Why are we waiting for the new Pevensey cancer unit?” and would like to set out the reason for the delay.

We had initially intended to redevelop Pevensey Unit, which currently provides chemotherapy and haematology facilities at Eastbourne DGH.

However, over the last year, exciting new plans have been drawn up in partnership with Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) and the Sussex Cancer Network that will revolutionise cancer services for local patients in Eastbourne and surrounding areas.

The plans involve a four-storey state-of-the-art facility being built at the DGH that will provide radiotherapy for the very first time to the people of East Sussex.

Three radiotherapy machines, known as linear accelerators, will be built and linked to the Sussex Cancer Centre in Brighton. It will mean local patients will no longer have to travel for radiotherapy treatment.

The plans involve a very big development, costing over £30m, and we are currently working with BSUH and the Sussex Cancer Network to secure the funding and also the local authority to gain planning permission.

The intention is to relocate Pevensey Unit into these new facilities and, therefore, any previous plans to redevelop the ward have been put on hold.

The new Pevensey Unit will allow the Trust to meet current and future demands for oncology and haematology services, meet the needs of the local community and meet long-term requirements of the Sussex Cancer Network.

We appreciate the generous work of the Friends of the Eastbourne Hospitals in raising money for the Pevensey Unit redevelopment and are delighted they have agreed to support the new project.

An outline business case of the new development was approved by the Board at the January Trust Board meeting and it is anticipated, if all goes well, the new development will open in early 2014.

In the meantime, Pevensey Unit will continue to provide a fantastic service to cancer patients.

ANDY HORNE

Deputy chief executive

East Sussex Health Trust