Plans for the new multi-million pound Adult Thoracic Surgical Centre for South Wales can go ahead at pace following a major boost from Welsh Government.
The new centre, to be based at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, will treat lung cancer patients and others who need surgery for a range of chest conditions.
It will be able to operate on an increased number of patients, potentially upwards of 20% more, and will be the third largest centre in the UK.
Following extensive public consultation in 2018, it was agreed that the new centre will provide a single service for South Wales for residents living in the Swansea Bay; Hywel Dda, Cwm Taf Morgannwg; Aneurin Bevan, Powys and Cardiff and Vale Health Board areas. The centre is expected to be open within the next three to five years.
Patients will be treated as much as possible within their local health board area, only having to travel to the Morriston centre for pre-admission assessment and the surgery itself.
The endorsement of the proposal by the Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan will enable the next key stage - the development of detailed plans - to now get underway.
Siân Harrop-Griffiths, Swansea Bay University Health Board’s Director of Strategy and project lead, said:
“Developing this scheme and getting the agreement of all the clinicians and organisations across South Wales has been time consuming and complex.
“But we are delighted that this endorsement by the Minister means we can now take this work forward at pace to provide better thoracic surgical services for everyone across South Wales.”
Malgorzata Kornaszewska, Consultant Thoracic Surgeon at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Clinical Lead for the South Wales Adult Thoracic Surgical Services Programme said:
“The new centre will be a centre of excellence with access to modern technology, and will be able to offer a comprehensive, modern, timely and high standard service to our patients.
“It will also create an excellent opportunity for teaching, training and research. This is an exciting time for the thoracic teams and Welsh thoracic patients.”
The South Wales Adult Thoracic Surgery Centre will standardise the delivery of these services across South Wales, improving the long-term sustainability of the service.
Having the specialist service in one dedicated centre will improve equity of access and patients’ experiences, and most importantly provide better health outcomes.
The single site thoracic surgery centre will be designed in line with best practice and the recommendations of various reviews and consultation processes.
As a centre of excellence, it will provide dedicated thoracic surgery to meet national standards, enabling sub-specialisation of surgeons, which in turn will enable a higher standard of complex surgical procedures to be performed.
All health boards in South Wales, led by Swansea Bay UHB, have worked together alongside the Welsh Ambulances Services Trust and community health councils to develop and agree a plan to develop this new unit at Morriston Hospital.
Thoracic surgery is an operation or series of operations for conditions affecting the chest, including lungs, mediastinum, pleura, diaphragm, the sympathetic nervous system the chest wall, the contents of the chest, and the lungs. Most thoracic surgery is performed on patients with lung cancer, although thoracic surgeons also operate on patients with other types of thoracic malignancies, pneumothorax, various forms of thoracic sepsis and a large group of miscellaneous conditions which fall outside the remit of other specialities. Thoracic surgery is also performed on non-cancerous conditions such as punctured lungs or complications from pneumonia, and biopsies on people with certain types of lung disease to help get a diagnosis.