Ipswich Hospital opens £2.5million drugs centre

Pharmacy technicians at work in the new unit, in the cleanrooms and via video link.

Pharmacy technicians at work in the new unit, in the cleanrooms and via video link. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Hospital has opened a new £2.5million drugs centre to make chemotherapy drugs for cancer patients.

Pharmacy technicians at work in the new unit, in the cleanrooms and via video link.

Pharmacy technicians at work in the new unit, in the cleanrooms and via video link. - Credit: Archant

A specialist pharmacy team is working in the state-of-the-art centre to prepare chemotherapy injections.

It is home to three pharmaceutical isolators – specialist pieces of equipment which provide very clean environments to protect both the drug from being spoilt, and the member of staff from the drug’s toxic effects.

The centre, known as an aseptic production unit, or APU, is situated in the Woolverstone Cancer Wing at the hospital.

Next year an adjoining £4.7million day unit for cancer patients will be opening.

Colleagues at the official opening of the hospital�s new unit for preparing cancer drugs.

Colleagues at the official opening of the hospital�s new unit for preparing cancer drugs. - Credit: Archant

The number of day unit patients is expected to rise from 17 to 30 each day and the new APU will be able to make more drugs to match the demand.

The isolators are kept in ‘cleanrooms’, which are kept free of dust and bacteria.

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The air to these rooms is supplied by a specialist piece of ventilation equipment in the plant room in the roof. Air is kept at a higher pressure in the cleanrooms than the outer rooms and is highly filtered so it travels away from the cleanest area.

Before the new unit opened, the team had a much smaller, cramped and outdated unit with only one isolator.

Oncology pharmacist Ian Floodgate said: “With all these changes, the aim is to provide the treatment required to our patients, at the time that they need it, with a high level of quality assurance to minimise the risks involved to patients and staff when preparing these injections.

“It is hoped that the new facility will provide the capacity to do this for many years to come.”