DARLINGTON Memorial Hospital has doubled the number of chemotherapy patients it can treat at any one time, following a major programme of refurbishment.

Thanks to the modernisation of the Rosen Unit, the hospital has increased its capacity to deliver chemotherapy day unit services for its patients.

The changes allow family members to remain by the side of patients during treatment and improvements include a new reception area, nursing station and assessment bay.

Having been diagnosed with myeloma (a form of blood cancer) in 2008, Brenda Drysdale, 73, from Hurworth, near Darlington, believes the refurbishment has helped to improve her experience of chemotherapy.

“The newly refurbished centre is so light and airy, that you’re instantly more relaxed. I believe that your surroundings play a big part in how you feel when you’re receiving your treatment and to have space for your family to come and be with you during those hard times makes such a difference.”

The Rosen Unit is named in memory of local GP Dr Roy Rosen in recognition of the role he played in fundraising for haematology services in Darlington.

The new unit has responded to the increased demand for chemotherapy, which can often last for up to two years, with regular visits until the disease relapses or stops.

But, thanks to funding from County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust and the Leukaemia Charitable Fund, a local charity, the modernisation of the Rosen Centre has raised standards of care.

Sue Jacques, chief executive of CDDFT, said: “We’re delighted to be officially opening the new-look Rosen Unit. The exceptional care that our staff continue to provide to our patients in the unit is now matched by quality facilities that help to raise standards of care.

“We also must recognise the local fundraising efforts of the Leukaemia Charity Fund which kindly donated funds to making this refurbishment possible."

Councillor Heather Scott, chairman of the fundraising committee, said: “This is a wonderful day for Darlington. We raised in excess of £350,000 for the haematology unit and cancer services, and Dr Rosen would have been delighted to see how treatments at Darlington Memorial Hospital are saving lives.”