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FORCE cancer charity funds chemotherapy first in Okehampton


Cancer patients in West Devon are to be offered chemotherapy treatment in Okehampton for the first time, thanks to funding from FORCE Cancer Charity.


The service will be available every Wednesday between 10am and 4pm at Okehampton Hospital from February 21.


FORCE already offers regular support and information sessions at Castle Ham Lodge in Okehampton and has set aside money from a legacy to pay for this new and important weekly service in the town.


The money is funding specialist nurses from the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital to administer some of the more straightforward treatments to patients, saving them the journey to Wonford whenever possible.


A grant of £9,000 from the Exeter Foundation has also enabled FORCE to buy a new van for the secure transport of drugs.


The charity began funding a pilot outreach chemotherapy project at Tiverton Hospital in July. The feedback from patients and nursing staff has been so positive that it is being rolled out as quickly as possible in Okehampton.


It is hoped that the service will also be offered at a third location in East Devon later this year.


The benefits to patients include:

  • Treatment closer to home so less travelling time and expense
  • Easier parking
  • Quieter location and treatment area
  • Reduced waiting time for treatment, both in Okehampton and Exeter
  • Experienced oncology staff from the hospital to deliver treatment
  • Access to additional FORCE services to support you and your family

Not all cancer patients will be eligible to receive chemotherapy treatments outside the RD&E’s main acute hospital site at Wonford. Consultants and chemotherapy nurses will discuss with patients and families whether they are suitable for community-based treatment.

 

The charity is spending £160,000 on three years of funding for two full-time chemotherapy nurses, who will work in Exeter two days a week and eventually in FORCE’s outreach locations for the remaining three.

 

FORCE Chief Executive Meriel Fishwick said: “It’s very exciting to be involved in a project that improves access to cancer support and treatment. We have already discovered in Tiverton that the benefits of support and treatment close to home have a positive impact on people’s quality of life.”


FORCE has worked closely with the RD&E to make the new chemotherapy services more widely available.
 
Tina Grose, Lead Cancer Nurse at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are delighted to continue working with FORCE to develop the outreach chemotherapy programme. The feedback from the service at Tiverton has been overwhelmingly positive, not only from patients but also from staff. The plans to open in Okehampton will further develop this patient-focused initiative, building on the positive impact for patients’ wellbeing at a difficult time.”  


Added 26th January 2018

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