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Blood cancer wards open at region’s specialist new cancer hospital

The region’s specialist cancer hospital has opened two new wards specifically for patients with blood cancer who need inpatient care and treatment. The blood cancer wards at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool include a stem cell transplant unit, isolation rooms, and a special air filtration system to reduce any risk of infection in people whose immune systems may be vulnerable.

The opening of the new wards – which welcomed their first patients on 15th September – is particularly timely because September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month.

Blood cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma are the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancers in the UK. Every 20 minutes, someone finds out they have a blood cancer. Many people with blood cancer need stem cell transplants to replace diseased or damaged blood cells and support their immune system.

Until now, patients with blood cancer in Liverpool received their inpatient care from experts from The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in beds at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. The opening of the new wards now means patients will continue being cared for by the same Clatterbridge team in a brand new facility alongside other specialist oncology services.

The two blood cancer wards occupy the fourth and fifth floors of the 11-storey Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool, which opened in June as part of a £162m investment in transforming cancer care across Cheshire & Merseyside.

Ward 4 has 29 single en-suite rooms for adults aged 25+ with a wide range of blood cancers including acute and chronic leukaemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. It will provide treatments including inpatient chemotherapy and transfusions of blood products such as lymphocytes – a type of white blood cells that are crucial for the immune system.

Ward 5 is home to the stem cell transplant unit, which has 12 single en-suite rooms where patients will receive transplants of blood-forming stem cells and other blood products. It also has facilities for collecting stem cells, either from patients before they have chemotherapy or from other matching donors, usually close family members. The unit has HEPA air filtration to prevent the circulation of harmful particles like viruses and bacteria, reducing any risk of infection to people whose immune systems may be weak.

In addition, Ward 5 will provide other treatments including inpatient chemotherapy and a wide range of support services for people with blood cancer. It will also have dedicated facilities for teenagers and young adults aged under 25.

Both wards will also have a team of research practitioners so patients with blood cancer can access clinical trials of pioneering new treatments.

Professor Andrew Pettitt, Consultant Haematologist at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The new wards are the culmination of five years of work to bring blood cancer care together with other cancers. For the first time in Liverpool, people needing inpatient, daycase or outpatient care for blood cancer can now be seen and treated in the same spectacular facilities, with a comprehensive range of cancer support services and facilities available on site.

“At the same time, being right next door to the Royal means that our patients will still benefit from the excellent support that we’ve been so lucky to have all these years from our colleagues in other specialties. In other words, our patients will have the best of both worlds.”

Patient Lawrence Gerard, who was admitted to the new wards on Tuesday, said: “I find Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool to be a wonderful new hospital with amazing staff who could not care for me more. The view tops it off and makes my day better.”