Fleetwood cancer unit support grows

Fleetwood Health and Wellbeing Centre on Dock Street
Fleetwood Health and Wellbeing Centre on Dock Street

Health chiefs have this week acknowledged the strength of local opinion in Fleetwood over the withdrawal of a cancer treatment service in the town.

The chemotherapy unit operated for 12 months on a trial basis at the Health and Wellbeing Centre on Dock Street, set up with funding from the Rosemere Cancer Foundation.

But when the 12 months of funding was up, at the 
beginning of this year, the service ended, despite being well used and much praised by Fleetwood residents.

It ended mainly because health authorities could not take on the costs of hiring the privately-owned building and transporting the medicines without the temporary Rosemere cash.

Two petitions were set up in a bid to try and revive it.

One was an e-petition set up by Fleetwood woman 
Paula Fowler, which has so far more than 1,600 names and runs until September.

The other, a paper petition set up jointly by community groups and Fleetwood Town Council members, received more than 1,300 names from residents who said it saved cancer patients an arduous journey to Blackpool Victoria Hospital and back.

This petition was handed over by Fleetwood Town Council vice-chairman Bill Barrow to Gary Doherty, the chief executive of the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

A spokesman for the Trust said: “We fully understand the desire for residents to see more services, such as a chemotherapy unit, closer to their homes as shown by the petition.

“The Trust, and the 
local Clinical Commissioning Groups, are working together to look at how we can provide more community-based services over the next few years and will do this wherever it is safe and affordable. The organisations are all working hard to see what services can be provided and where.”

Fleetwood’s MP, Eric Ollerenshaw, added: “The Rosemere Foundation ran the chemotherapy unit for a 12- month trial.

“Here in Fleetwood, it has proved a success and I am 
determined to do all I can to see a return of an oncology service to our area.”

Paula Fowler, who met with Mr Ollerenshaw to 
discuss the issue, said:“The meeting went well and Mr Ollerenshaw seemed hopeful but said things may take