Child cancer unit to be open by Christmas

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 26/03/2014

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A "much needed and much awaited" new child cancer unit will open at Christchurch Hospital before Christmas.

The $5 million Child Haematology Oncology Centre will replace facilities previously described as "totally inadequate" for the care of very sick children.

The existing centre was set up 12 years ago, but as demand increased "it has become increasingly difficult to meet the needs of the children and their families in the current facility," Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) chief executive David Meates said.

Since 2010, lower North Island children diagnosed with cancer have been sent to Christchurch for complex or intensive treatment under a shared-care agreement, which has caused demand at the CDHB facility to significantly increase.

The new centre would be a temporary facility until a permanent child cancer unit was built as part of the hospital's redevelopment of acute services, Meates said.

The temporary centre has been a key project for the CDHB for some years, but it was subject to significant disruption and delays as a result of the Canterbury quakes.

"It's great to see this much needed and much awaited temporary facility on the road to completion and open before this Christmas," he said.

The new centre will have 11 patient beds - up from an existing eight, a family room, kitchen, lounge, dining room, a dedicated playroom, an outpatient area, two treatment rooms, as isolation room and an assessment room.

The centre would be a key component of the CDHB's "delivery of world class child cancer treatment".

Corbel Construction have been contracted to build the temporary facility, which would be designed to accommodate other clinical services in the future.

The new Child Haematology Oncology Centre will be located in the former Physiotherapy Department on the lower ground floor of the Clinical Services Block at Christchurch Hospital.

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- The Press

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