Sir James Galway opens new wing at Belfast City Hospital

Belfast-born flautist Sir James Galway was in the province on Thursday January 31 to open the new haematology wing at Belfast City Hospital.

The internationally renowned musician opened the unit which will cater for patients in Northern Ireland who are diagnosed with haematological cancer, including diseases like Hodgkins lymphoma, leukaemias and myelomas.

The new state-of-the-art centre, which has been operating since last September, is the result of an amalgamation between the Royal and City hospitals' teams.

Each year in Northern Ireland 500 patients here are diagnosed with haematological cancer.

The wing, named as the Ulster Garden Village Suite consists of 29 beds, six of which will be dedicated exclusively to bone marrow transplant patients.

Dr Curly Morris, Consultant Haematologist at the City Hospital said the amalgamation of services was a "great step forward which will enable us to concentrate facilities in one area." Dr Morris added: "Due to limited specialist accommodation, patients requiring bone marrow transplants have had to wait for treatment in the past. This increase in transplant beds allows patients to have the most advanced treatment available to them as quickly as possible."

Dr Frank Jones, NI Blood and Marrow Transplant Director said: "The new Ulster Garden Suite will enable us to provide a regional service, which is comparable to leading units in the UK. In the future, local patients will be able to receive a bone marrow transplant here fro other donors in other countries. This is an important step forward, and will be of great benefit to patients locally." (AMcE)

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