STRUCTURE: A dedicated emergency assessment unit for cancer patients is being jointly planned by Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The trust says it will be the first unit of its type in the south of England. The four-bed facility is planned to be situated next to the current accident and emergency department at Southampton General Hospital. The unit will allow patients requiring urgent admission as a result of their cancer or its treatment to be treated without going through A&E.

Cancer teams will work with other departments to ensure anyone in hospital who has a cancer diagnosis or suspected cancer but is admitted for another reason is seen by a specialist within 24 hours.

Vicki Havercroft, Macmillan team leader at Southampton General, said the initiative would bring about “a new way of working for the hospital and will mean we are much more joined-up in the way that we care for people with cancer”.