The Bon Secours Hospital in Cork announced yesterday it has opened its new sterile “chemotherapy drug compounding” unit where all of the drug treatments for the hospital’s cancer patients will be prepared.
The hospital, one of Europe’s leading hospitals in cancer treatment, has a dedicated 23-bed in-patient ward and a dedicated 17-patient day ward.
Last year, it dispensed about 3,000 doses of chemotherapy.
Some chemotherapy regimes involve a mixture of a range of different drugs.
While some other hospitals buy in cancer drugs, the Bon Secours’s new pharmacy unit will allow staff to mix their own treatments as required on the premises.
The hospital’s clinical services manager, Donna Roche, who oversees the new unit, said its four special isolators — areas where the drugs are actually mixed — will allow staff to mix more treatments.
But the extra capacity will also allow the hospital to conduct more clinical trials, she said.
These trials involve testing new treatments to ultimately give new hope to cancer patients.
“The opening of our new pharmacy represents a very significant investment in our oncology services,” hospital manager Harry Canning said.
“Last year we became one of the only hospitals in Ireland to receive designation as an Integrated Oncology and Palliative Care Centre by the European Society for Medical Oncology and Palliative Care.”
The new pharmacy unit has been built to the stringent requirements required by the Irish Medicines Board.
It is staffed by highly-trained pharmacists and technicians who work in a sterile environment.
Their area is rigorously tested and constantly monitored to ensure that its standards are maintained.
The hospital commissioned Mach-Aire, a specialist in Irish health board and British NHS pharmacy cleanroom projects, to upgrade the existing facilities.
The Bon Secours Health System is the largest independent private healthcare provider in Ireland.
It has some of the most technologically advanced hospitals in the country located in Cork, Dublin, Galway and Tralee and the Mount Desert Care Village on the Lee Road in Cork.
The Bon Secours Health System recently became one of the first hospital groups in the country to be re-accredited by Joint Commission International — an independent international organisation focused on improving the safety of patient care. It focuses on clinical excellence, cleanliness, patient care and cutting-edge technology.