Building starts on new cancer treatment facility

30 January 2018

Dr Richard Moore, clinical director of medical/mental, Debbie Barrow, clinical care manager, Karen Hollamby, clinical nurse, Natasha Ashworth, Tui Te Ora manager and Suzanne Bull, cancer nurse co-ordinator, eagerly await the new Medical Day Unit at Gisborne Hospital. The facility, due for completion in July, will provide for patients who require intensive treatments such as chemotherapy, blood and drug transfusions, but who can go home on the same day.

The building of a purpose-built facility for people who need chemotherapy has begun. The Medical Day Unit at Gisborne Hospital will cater for people who need intensive treatments like chemotherapy, blood and drug transfusions, but who do not need to stay overnight in hospital.

There will be no delays for people receiving treatment while the building takes place says Tui te Ora Long-term Conditions Manager Natasha Ashworth. “People will continue to have their treatment in the current Medical Day Unit until the new building opens. This is expected to be in July.”

“We are working on keeping noise disruption to a minimum but people who have appointments with Medical Technical, Long Term Conditions, Audiology or the Dialysis Unit may be affected.”

The building is going up at the front of the hospital next to Tui te Ora, the long-term conditions department. The build will also see improved facilities for Medical Technical and Audiology.

Tui te Ora, Medical Technical, Audiology and the Medical Day Unit all work closely together. The build will see a central reception area for the four departments.

While building is underway there is limited parking for people visiting Tui Te Ora. Mobility parking is still available and there is additional parking at the entrance to T Lab.

The facility has been mooted for some time and is funded by the Ministry of Health. The need for the facility has grown. In the last five years, there has been a 150 percent increase in the number of people needing these types of treatments and all projections indicate that this trend will continue, Mrs Ashworth adds.

“On average 180 treatments are carried out in the current facility each month and it can be quite crowded. Crowding and the layout of the space make it difficult for staff to keep a constant watch on people receiving treatment. There is no option for privacy and related staff like Cancer Nurse Specialists and visiting oncologists are(??) based in another part of the hospital.”

“We have done a lot of consultation with people who use the facility and staff to make sure the new unit will be fit for purpose and accommodate growing numbers. It will bring together all the relevant staff working with people with cancer and help us to better coordinate their care. It is likely to save people needing to travel to hospitals outside of Gisborne for some treatments.”

There has been a lot of community support for this project from the beginning says Board Chair David Scott. “The Gisborne Cancer Society has been involved in the planning of the new facility. It will provide a central location for the Cancer Society to meet with people at clinics. Gisborne Registered Master Builders have been very helpful and we have had pledges from Friends of the Hospital and the Terrier Racing Group for assistance with the fit out once it is built.”