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Build begins for new unit

Picture – L-R-Cwm-Taf Chair Prof. Marcus-Longley / Susan-Morris and Health Secretary Vaughan Gething

The Welsh health secretary has joined Macmillan Cancer Support and Cwm Taf at a ceremony to mark the building of their new £7m palliative care unit near Llantrisant.

Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport Vaughan Gething joined Macmillan and Cwm Taf University Health Board for a turf cutting event at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, where the unit will be built.

Macmillan is donating £5m to build the state-of-the-art Y Bwthyn Macmillan Specialist Care Unit with the additional £2m contributed by Welsh Government through the All Wales Capital Programme.

Macmillan is also delighted to announce that the Moondance Foundation has donated £500,000 towards the unit.

The eight-bed unit will provide inpatient, outpatient and palliative day care for people with incurable cancer and other conditions within the health board area of Rhondda and Taff Ely.

It is being designed by architects who specialise in palliative care builds and the unit will give a comfortable and welcoming environment to people being cared for there and their loved ones.

Palliative care for cancer patients in Rhondda and Taff Ely is currently provided at Y Bwthyn Pontypridd Cottage Hospital.

Although the quality of care at Y Bwthyn is known to be excellent, its location means that patients need to be transferred to Royal Glamorgan Hospital to access specialist tests and treatments, which can be difficult and distressing.

Similarly, some patients who go to Royal Glamorgan Hospital may benefit from being in a palliative care environment, but are too unwell to be transferred to Y Bwthyn.

The unit will be Macmillan’s biggest investment in Wales so the charity is asking people to help them build Y Bwthyn by fundraising towards it.

Susan Morris, Head of Services for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, said:

“Macmillan is thrilled to give £5m towards the Y Bwthyn Macmillan Specialist Care Unit thanks to our supporters and I am pleased to mark the upcoming building work by cutting the turf with Cabinet Secretary for Health Vaughan Gething today.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to the Moondance Foundation for its generous donation of £500,000 towards the unit.

“As the £5m is our biggest investment in Wales, today we’re asking people to help us build the Y Bwthyn unit by fundraising for it whether that’s by baking, running or simply texting to donate £5.

“The Y Bwthyn Macmillan Specialist Care Unit will be a warm, welcoming and comfortable environment for people needing palliative care and their loved ones and we are so pleased to be developing it in partnership with Cwm Taf University Health Board.”

Diane Briere de l’Isle-Engelhardt, Chair and Trustee of the Moondance Foundation, said:

“We are very pleased to have donated £500,000 towards the Y Bwthyn Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Unit at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

“The £7m eight-bed unit will offer a welcoming and comfortable environment to people receiving inpatient, outpatient or day specialist palliative care and their loved ones.”

Dr Ian Back, Consultant in Palliative Medicine at Cwm Taf University Health Board said:

“The new state-of-the-art specialist unit will be designed to provide patients with the high-quality care they need in a comfortable environment for both them and their loved ones.

“Building the new unit at Royal Glamorgan Hospital will also ensure that patients have access to specialist tests and treatment more easily without the need for unnecessary transfers between hospitals when they are often too unwell.”

John Palmer, Director of Primary, Community and Mental Health Services at Cwm Taf University Health Board said:

“We are delighted that these plans have been approved and that we can continue to build on our excellent relationship with Macmillan Cancer Support.

“The plan is for this unit to have a world-class addition to our rapidly developing palliative care service.”