15/01/2019 | Announcements, Press releases

Specialist drugs manufacturing unit to open at Colchester Hospital

A new drugs manufacturing facility worth more than £3million is to be built at Colchester Hospital so patients can continue to benefit from tailor-made medication, including chemotherapy drugs for cancer.

The aseptic unit, which is due to open next year, will provide additional space and improve the flow of the drug manufacturing process to meet increasing demand for aseptic services from the local community.

Some drugs which have a short useable life or are designed for specific patients, have to be prepared on site in a clinically sterile environment – which is where an aseptic suite comes in. This includes, but isn’t exclusive to, many of the chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer patients.

Stephen Pullen, deputy pharmacy production manager at Colchester Hospital, said: “This is an exciting time for the Pharmacy department at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT).

“An up-to-date aseptic unit is essential to build in resilience so we can continue to provide aseptically prepared products for the Trust.

“The purpose built unit will house specialist equipment with a dedicated, skilled team, offering the most responsive, flexible and effective service to provide safe and high quality injectable medicine to meet our patients’ needs.

“Products manufactured within the aseptic unit reduce the need for product reconstitution/ dispensing on hospital wards, therefore reducing pressure on nursing time and increasing staff and patient safety.”

The specially designed building will mean aseptically prepared products, for cancer chemotherapy treatment in particular, can be prepared at the Turner Road site, as well as a range of general intravenous preparations, parenteral nutrition, radioactive injections and blood labelling for use in nuclear medicine.

Barbara Buckley, chief medical officer at ESNEFT, said: “A state-of-the-art manufacturing pharmacy unit on site gives us complete flexibility to offer tailor made drugs for individual patients.

“It’s efficient and effective, and improving our facilities in this way means we will be able to cope with rising numbers of patients. We’re very conscious of treating people as quickly as possible and this will help us.”

The new unit will comply with Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) standards and will be large enough to accommodate more of the isolator units used in the manufacturing process for increased production in the future.

It is expected that work will begin on the two-storey extension to the existing pharmacy building in April.

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