HEALTH chiefs say the opening of the new £22million Stratford Hospital is a landmark moment for patient care in the district.
The hospital’s eye unit welcomed its first patients at the end of July, and the cancer unit and health and wellbeing centre will open on Monday (August 7).
South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT) – which runs the hospital – say the state-of-the-art building will make a huge difference to patients across the district and surrounding areas.
Shockingly, nearly 30 per cent fewer cancer patients in Stratford choose to have chemotherapy compared to neighbouring Warwick Hospital – simply as a result of the time it takes to travel to the Aylesford Unit at Warwick.
But it is now hoped more will opt to use the new cancer unit, which is situated on the building’s top floor. It contains 12 treatment rooms and two emergency treatment rooms.
Chief executive Glen Burley said: “The opening of the new Stratford Hospital is such a big moment in the trust’s history. Access to local health services is critical for our communities and this new facility is something we are all very proud of. I would like to thank everyone that has made this possible; staff, fundraisers and donors.”
Trust director of development Jayne Blacklay added: “I am delighted Stratford Hospital is now open.
“Communities across south Warwickshire are really going to benefit from having these services closer to home, so I am really pleased the trust has been able to enhance access to cancer and eye care in Stratford.
“The health and wellbeing hub, Café Lomas, is also going to be a great addition to the local community and supports one of our key objectives to support people in managing their own health and wellbeing.
It has taken nearly two years for the building on Arden Street to be completed. During that time the old hospital on the same site – which was half the size – remained open. There was a setback earlier this year when a burst water pipe flooded the first floor and pushed progress back by a month.
The first floor houses the eye unit with eight consulting rooms and three treatment rooms. Ground floor is home to health and wellbeing club ‘Cafe Lomas’.
Around 100 members of staff will work in the hospital each day.
Ms Blacklay thanked the community for its support.
“I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to everyone that has supported the development and fundraising appeal which have helped us to make it a first class health care facility.”
Fund-raisers held events ranging from fire walks to tea parties to raise £1million to pay for ‘home comforts’ in the hospital. These included iPads and upgraded chemotherapy chairs.
They hit their target in February this year but have continued to raise money to fund even more enhancements.
Visit www.stratfordhospital.co.uk to find out more.
And The Observer will be offering a guided photographic tour of the hospital next week. Visit www.strafordobserver.co.uk for further details.