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Urgent work underway to sustain Noble’s oncology facility

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An urgent solution is being put in place to replace a key piece of equipment in Noble’s Hospital Pharmacy, to ensure patients can continue to receive chemotherapy and other treatments.

A technical fault has occurred in a fan unit which is vital to the safe production of drugs for chemo and certain other therapies in the aseptic room. A replacement part has been ordered and is currently in transit to the Island. Plans have been made for its installation and subsequent testing, along with a regime of cleaning to meet stringent protocols for the environmental conditions in which therapy drugs can be produced.

The situation is being addressed by the Department of Health and Social Care at the highest level.

DHSC Minister David Ashford said: ‘This is a concerning situation which is causing understandable distress to a number of patients whose chemotherapy treatment programmes have been interrupted. I give my assurance that everything possible is being done to find a solution, and while much of the department’s focus is on our COVID-19 response, this matter is also a very high priority. Several senior members of staff have been tasked with resolving this problem.’

Chemotherapy limits the effectiveness of a patient’s immune system, so to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection as far as possible, only a limited number of cancer patients are currently continuing their treatment at Nobles.

The aseptic room also produces drugs for gastroenterology and rheumatology treatments, and a small number of patients in those areas are also affected by the current problem.

It is anticipated that the recommissioning of the area will take two weeks. Patients will be kept informed on progress, alternative care plans considered where possible and invited to resume their treatments as soon as the situation allows.