Chemo pledge

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CHEMOTHERAPY patients will be able to receive treatment in Alnwick later this year.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is working towards providing a chemotherapy suite in the vacant ward at Alnwick Infirmary after wards merged in March last year. The news means that patients will be able to receive their treatment closer to home.

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are committed to providing services closer to patients’ homes and are working towards introducing a chemotherapy service and other nurse-led services at Alnwick Infirmary.

“These will be of great benefit to the local community and will save patients travelling to Wansbeck General Hospital for treatment.

“We are currently doing a lot of work preparing for this which includes training our staff to run the chemotherapy service. We expect the chemotherapy service to start later in the year.”

Alnwick county and town councillor Gordon Castle said: “This is very good news. I raised this issue myself with the Trust last year and said there was a very big problem with people having to go for treatment to Newcastle and Wansbeck.

“This is wonderful and I am delighted to hear that it is happening.

“I will be very good news for the vulnerable groups and will save them the dreadful business of travelling for treatment. It is great for the town and great for them.”

Elisabeth Haddow, former chairman of the Alnwick Area Health Forum, said: “This was talked about years ago. Berwick has a unit and it is about time something came to Alnwick.

“It is excellent. Having had a husband who had cancer and had to go to Ashington, although the staff were excellent, it was something extra to worry about.

“It will be wonderful for sick patients to have treatment closer to home.”

Sir Alan Beith, Lib Dem MP for Berwick upon Tweed, said: “I am delighted that training is being given to provide chemotherapy in Alnwick as it is in Berwick.

“I know from family experience how exhausting it is for patients receiving chemotherapy to have long ambulance journeys day after day in addition to treatment.”