Chemo treatments to double at St Richard’s

A Bognor Regis patient is among those to benefit from improved cancer treatment.

A new all-day clinic is being set up at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester to double the number of patients receiving chemotherapy, which will deliver up to 22 extra treatments every week.

The start of the new clinic at the Fernhurst Centre in May will save patients a journey to Portsmouth to receive the vital care.

Amanda Nash, from Bognor, is one of those receiving treatment at Fernhurst after an earlier boost to services allowed breast cancer patients to be treated there.

She said the move would make ‘a world of difference’ to patients like her.

“I was one of the first patients on Herceptin to transfer from Portsmouth to the Fernhurst Centre,” she said.

“I now only have to travel six miles from Bognor Regis, and also new guidelines mean the infusion time has been lowered to half an hour, so the whole hospital experience is less than two hours, every three weeks, instead of more than four hours and a 50-mile round trip.”

Clare Dikken, the hospital’s lead nurse for cancer services, said: “This extra service will allow us to move from delivering about 80 chemotherapy treatments a month to about 160 treatments, and the patients will receive this care in a superb facility, near to where they live.”

The Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs St Richard’s as well as Worthing and Southlands hospitals, increased the range of treatments delivered by staff at the oncology unit in October when breast cancer patients became able to receive Herceptin there for the first time.

Dr Phillip Barnes, the trust’s medical director, said: “Building high quality cancer services, with highly specialised staff, is not easy but everyone involved has worked hard to deliver this major improvement for local patients.

“Our long-term aim is to extend the services we offer cancer patients, and this is a significant step towards that goal.”