News that Savernake Hospital will get a weekly visit from a mobile chemotherapy unit that will save cancer victims a 24-mile round trip to Great Western Hospital has been welcomed.
Former Marlborough Jazz Festival chairman Suzie Fisher, whose partner Michael Bracey died from cancer in April aged 60, said it was “fabulous” news that chemotherapy was to become available at Savernake Hospital.
Mrs Fisher, who lives on the Green, said Mr Bracey had to rely on lifts from friends and neighbours to get to Great Western Hospital in Swindon for the chemotherapy it was hoped would save his life. However, he died less than six months after being told he had cancer.
Mrs Fisher said: “It is fabulous news that people will be able to get chemotherapy at Savernake Hospital without having to go to Swindon.
“When he had to go to the Great Western Hospital for his chemotherapy, and with me not being able to drive, we had to rely on friends to drive him.”
Marlborough father-of-three Pete Offer, 69, who lives in Savernake Crescent, told the Gazette that he had to drive himself to hospital in Swindon for the chemotherapy that saved his life about 18 years ago. As he drives a truck for a living he used to park it on a trading estate by the former Princess Margaret Hospital, walk to the hospital and after treatment would do a full day’s work at the wheel.
Mr Offer said: “Having chemotherapy at Savernake Hospital will be wonderful for all those people with cancer who at the moment have to drive to Swindon.”
Among those also welcoming the arrival of a new service is hospital campaigner Val Compton.
Mrs Compton, who is also a town councillor, was unsuccessful with her fight to get a High Court judge to overrule the decision of Wiltshire NHS Trust to close the MIU and former day hospital at Savernake but she has continued to campaign to get new services at the hospital.
Coun Compton said that as well as welcoming the good news for cancer sufferers, the fact that the mobile chemotherapy unit was coming to Savernake from next month was an indication that the health trust wanted to see more services provided at the hospital.
She said: “I am thrilled to bits to see this even if it’s only the car park at the hospital that will be used because we must welcome any new services at the hospital.”
The official launch of £260,000 Wiltshire Mobile Chemotherapy Unit at Savernake Hospital – funded by the cancer charity Hope for Tomorrow – will take place on Monday December 10 and it will be at the Marlborough hospital every Thursday and at Malmesbury Hospital on Fridays, saving about 12 cancer patients long trips to district hospitals for treatment.
Nurses from the Great Western Hospital’s Day Therapy Centre will administer the chemotherapy.