To expand on the current breast services offered in Gwent, the clinical teams from Nevill Hall and the Royal Gwent Hospitals will come together to provide outpatient care, diagnostic investigations and surgery for breast cancer in the heart of Ystrad Mynach.

On Monday. February 5, the brand-new Breast Care Unit at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr welcomed Gwent patients for the very first time.

This comes after an £11m investment from Welsh Government. The new unit will bring together experts from across the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area to provide a more resilient and effective breast service to better meet the needs of the Gwent population.

By the end of 2024, the facility will also aim to introduce a gold standard one-stop diagnostic service, which will allow patients to undergo investigative procedures in one visit.

Existing Mammogram machines have been transferred from Nevill Hall and Royal Gwent Hospitals to the new unit. A light-up art piece from Nevill Hall Hospital’s Mammogram room has also been repurposed and moved to its new home in Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, as it is still in keeping with the new unit’s feel and aesthetic.

Leanne Watkins, Chief Operating Officer for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, welcomed the development, saying: “The Breast Care Unit project has been in our plans for a number of years, and so it’s fantastic to see it finally come into fruition.

“The clinical teams have worked incredibly hard to ensure that this purpose-built facility will provide the best possible treatment for our patients, and we’re so proud to now be able to offer our patients the breast care experience that they deserve.

“Our patients and community groups have been amazing in working with us to develop the centre and we thank them for their support.

“We’d also like to thank BAM Construction for their work in delivering such an exciting project and bringing our vision to life.”

Health Minister, Eluned Morgan, further added: “I’m delighted to see the new Breast Care Unit at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr now open. This centre will provide people in Gwent with better access to high quality care and will mean more people can be managed on a day case basis and thereby avoid a hospital admission.

“Our £11m investment in this centre is part of the Welsh Government’s unwavering commitment to improve cancer services and outcomes for those affected by cancer, and ultimately saving more lives.”

As well as the significant investment from Welsh Government, the incredible fundraising efforts of the local communities in Gwent have secured more than £260,000 in additional funding to ensure the unit has a less clinical, more homely feel.

The funds raised have enabled the teams to purchase decorative items to improve the unit’s environment, including artwork, furniture and feature lighting.

Rhiannon Foulkes, Consultant Breast Surgeon and Clinical Lead for the Breast Unit, said:

“Bringing both of our breast services teams together in one place will hugely benefit our patients and staff, and will allow us to provide expert care and facilities of the highest standard.

“As a team, we are very excited to be able to provide a gold-standard diagnostic centre for breast care in our Health Board area.

“We have also been overwhelmed by the fundraising efforts and continued support of our local communities – their contributions will make a significant difference to the experience of our patients and we can’t thank them enough.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the unit’s ongoing fundraising efforts can do so via the following link: New Breast Care Unit - JustGiving.