WORK to build a brand new £11 million state of the art breast cancer facility in Gwent is set to start later this month.

Last week, it was announced that the facility - which is central to a community fundraising campaign, would be built at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, in Ystrad Mynach, and would see all services across the county brought together in one place.

The Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, which is responsible for healthcare across the county, has confirmed that existing services at the Royal Gwent in Newport, and Nevill Hall in Abergavenny, will transfer to the new facility, which will provide outpatient care, diagnostic investigations and surgery for breast cancer.

The organisation has revealed that work on the facility will start this month, and it is hoped that the “centre of excellence” will be ready for use in February 2023.

Once up and running, the existing clinical teams at the existing Gwent hospitals will move to the one facility, at the Blaenau Gwent hospital.

Free Press Series: An artist impression of what the new facility will look like (Credit: ABUHB)An artist impression of what the new facility will look like (Credit: ABUHB)

According to the health board, the plans “will improve quality and safety of care for breast service patients”.

Continuing, the health board said that centralising breast cancer care in the region “maximises the use of available resources”.

Fundraiser launched to improve services

The Welsh Government has invested the £11 million to allow the large-scale project to go ahead, but staff members and the local community have also started a fundraising campaign to install non-clinical amenities at the new site – to make what is typically a stressful and emotional environment as comfortable for patients and their families as can be.

To date, an additional £215,000 has been raised, which, according to the health board, will be used to fund “calming artwork, lighting and furniture to create a calm and comfortable waiting room; a bespoke prosthesis room designed to give women the time and dignity to choose the correct fitting after mastectomy; sensitively-designed counselling rooms for patients to discuss their diagnosis with the clinical team in a non-clinical, holistic environment; and a children's activity space to support parents attending clinical appointments.”

Prior to the pandemic, traditional fundraising methods such as cake sales and sponsored runs got the fundraiser off to a fast start.

But, amid two years of covid restrictions, fundraising has pivoted to an online campaign, and more information, including how to donate, can be found here.

Alternatively, Emma Wilkins can be contacted on

What has been said about the new unit?

Following news of the £11 million investment in the new facility, health minister Eluned Morgan, said: "These ambitious plans will mean patients in Gwent will have better access to high quality care and more people affected by breast cancer can be managed on a day case basis and thereby avoid a hospital admission.

"As we mark World Cancer Day, this is an opportunity to reflect on the significant impact cancer has on our society and highlight important investments that we are making to support better patient care. We will continue to give cancer services the focus they deserve as we emerge from the pandemic."

Interim chief executive of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Glyn Jones, added: "We are very grateful to Welsh Government for funding this incredible new facility, which will represent another key milestone in our Clinical Futures strategy.

“With the new centre serving as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for breast services, our specialist clinicians will be centralised in a purpose-built facility, where they will provide expert care to patients with breast cancer in one place.

“We look forward to seeing the construction of the facility progress over the coming months."