Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme helped officially open Solihull Hospital’s new £2.2 million Haematology and Oncology Day Unit this week.
The goalkeeper joined University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust’s Chief Executive, Dame Julie Moore and Black Sabbath guitarist and Heartlands Hospital charity patron, Tony Iommi.
Ikeme has been treated at Heartlands Hospital for leukaemia and this was his first public appearance since declaring he is in remission.
The new unit has been designed specifically with patient needs in mind and will offer a more peaceful and comfortable environment, with its own entrance and garden area.
A warm welcome was give to the crowd of staff and patients who were there to watch the grand opening of the unit. Julie Moore said a few words before introducing our special guests, who cut the ribbon to the new entrance.
Tony and Carl were taken on a tour of the new facilities by Dr Manos Nikolousis, consultant haematologist and clinical director for haematology and oncology, and were given the chance to meet patients and staff to find out what they think about the new unit.
Solihull Hospital Charity have played a huge part in getting the unit ready for patients, by fundraising for state-of the-art equipment and 24 comfortable treatment chairs.
Helen Domanski, lead chemotherapy nurse and acute oncology nurse for the Trust, said: “I’m thrilled and can’t believe it’s here after months of hard work. Our staff have done a fantastic job of getting the unit ready, even having an input into what it looks like.
“There are currently 24 treatment chairs, but capacity is expected to increase to 31 within three years, meaning we can see more patients in future.”
Before the opening of the new unit, most chemotherapy patients have been treated on Ward 19 at Heartlands Hospital or at the Sheldon Unit at Good Hope. Over the past four years there has been a greater need for chemotherapy treatment at Heartlands and the new unit will also ease pressure on Ward 19.
Julie Moore said: “The opening of the new unit is testament to the hard work of the team and has been made possible with the support of Solihull Hospital Charity. I know it will make a huge difference to our patients being treated for cancer and will help deliver the best treatment outcomes for them.”