Leeds breast cancer ward is moved from £1m unit

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Breast cancer patients have been moved out of their purpose-built £1m unit.

As reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post in April, the facility – opened in ablaze of publicity by pop star Ronan Keating – was under threat of closure as hospital chiefs tried to save millions.

Now staff and patients have been moved temporarily to another ward at Leeds General Infirmary.

But campaigners say the facilities in their current home are worse and they are awaiting more details of the replacement unit.

Margaret Stead, of the unit’s charity the Breast Cancer Research Action Group, said: “All these moves are absolutely dreadful for the staff and the morale of the staff.

“We are making do, hopefully for a very short time, and let’s just hope we get this new breast unit.”

Mrs Stead campaigned for the city’s first dedicated breast cancer ward after having surgery for the disease on a mixed sex ward in 1994.

The first specialist facility was created in 1995 and the purpose-built 20-bedded unit opened in 2009. Boyzone star Ronan Keating, who with his family set up charity the Marie Keating Foundation after losing his mum to breast cancer, praised the centre when he performed the opening. Earlier this year a storm of protest blew up when it was revealed that the service may have to move. Hospital bosses, who are trying to save £60m, said smaller wards were inefficient.

However campaigners said the plans would “intolerable” and a step backwards.

Mrs Stead said that since then, the ward and been moved once and another move seemed likely before the unit had a new permanent home.

She said on the current ward they didn’t have as many single rooms or a dining room for patients.

“I feel sorry for the staff but very much so for the patients because they are missing out,” she added.

A spokesperson for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Senior managers listened to concerns raised about the initial plans and agreed they were not satisfactory.

“Given that this was part of a series of moves however, it has been necessary to move the Breast Unit on a temporary basis, which is accepted is not ideal.

“Discussions continue about the permanent location and assurances have been given that the future configuration will be as good as the facilities previously enjoyed.”

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