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alaw-staffThe finishing touches are being put to a £1.2 million redevelopment of Ysbyty Gwynedd’s Alaw Day Unit.

There are currently more than 4,000 incidences of cancer in North Wales, and more than 1,800 patients are treated every year on the specialist Alaw Unit. What’s more, the number of people being diagnosed with cancer is continuing to rise.

The current unit has received no major improvements since it opened in 1999. Now though, thanks to the generosity of charities including the Gwynedd Haematology & Cancer Relief Fund – which contributed £500,000 towards the project – Friends of Alaw, and donations given through NHS Charity Awyr Las, the ward now has a completely new lease of life.

The improvements include double the current number of consulting rooms, increasing bed capacity from four to fourteen, a new reception and separate waiting room for outpatients, and a dedicated room for stem cell patients in the Day Unit.

Chas Muskett is an Oncology Nurse Practitioner on Alaw:

“The older the population gets the more likely it is that people will develop cancer, but with the advent of a whole generation of novel anti-cancer drugs we are able to treat a bigger population of patients than previously. Since we began using these new drugs there has been a significant upwards trend in survival rates. Over the last few years it’s become more and more obvious that we needed to be able to increase capacity on Alaw.

“This work has made all the difference – it’s now a lovely, bright, modern space. The new facilities mean more privacy and space for patients in the treatment area. Generally it’s just a much more pleasant environment.”

Dafydd Thomas from Trearddur Bay has first-hand experience of the care provided at the Alaw Unit. The 64 year old was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lymphoma nearly four years ago, and has been determined to raise awareness – and funds – ever since:

“It’s hard to describe how good the care is – it’s better than anything I could’ve asked for. Things didn’t look good at the beginning and without Alaw I wouldn’t be here now.

“I don’t want to tempt fate, but I feel better than I have for at least ten years. I walk every day, I cycle and I go the gym. The Missus is threatening to put a tag on me because I’m never home!

“All through my treatment and to this day the staff have been fantastic, whether they be nurses, nursing assistants, doctors, administrators and cleaners. They are there for you day and night.

“They and the other patients became like family to me, and that’s still how I think of Alaw – as my extended family.”

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