A specialist Breast Surgery Care Unit offering patients surgical and nursing support has opened at the Hospital of St Cross, Rugby

The facility, called the Laurel Unit and located in the Rainsbrook Wing, has come to fruition thanks to support from UHCW Charity, the Friends of St Cross and Arden’s Angels, a group of dedicated fundraisers led by Rugbeian Tracie Mills.

As well as nurse-led clinics, reconstruction and plastic surgery, new services include nipple areolar tattooing as well as Macmillan funded breast surgery physiotherapy and bespoke pilates group classes.

It is the latest investment in the Hospital of St Cross by University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, following the opening of the Maple Unit for Chemotherapy and Haematology services and new theatres for Orthopaedics and general surgery.

Katherina McEvoy, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon and Clinical Service Lead for Breast Surgery at UHCW NHS Trust, said: “We’re delighted to open the Laurel Unit to help provide a welcoming environment to support patients during an extremely anxious time.

“Many of the people we care for are having surgical procedures linked to cancer so, together with the new Maple Unit – which provides chemotherapy and regular tests – we are bringing together a comprehensive range of services to further enhance the patient experience.

“The Laurel Unit is in addition to the clinics and facilities we have available for wider cancer and surgical services, including the Arden Cancer Centre at University Hospital.”

Professor Andy Hardy, UHCW Chief Executive, said: “This is another great example of how we are investing substantially in the Hospital of St Cross together with the continued support of our charity partners.

“Tracie and Arden’s Angels have been utterly inspirational and amazingly committed in raising awareness and funds in very creative ways for breast cancer at both the Hospital of St Cross and University Hospital, Coventry.”

Further developments planned for the service include expanding breast surgery outpatient services in Rugby.

Doug Jones, Chair of the Friends of St Cross, which donated over £50,000 to fund furniture and specialist equipment in the Laurel Unit, said: “We were thrilled when Katherina approached us with this proposal. The Friends Board of Trustees was keen to support this exciting development and a collaborative approach with UHCW Charity was soon in place.”

Arden’s Angels has raised more than £80,000 for UHCW Charity to support breast surgery clinics at University Hospital and St Cross through a series of community-based fundraisers.

Jo O’Sullivan, UHCW Charity Director, said: “As a cancer patient herself, treated in both the Maple Unit and the Arden Centre, Tracie knows first-hand how this service will help to further improve the environment and services provided for fellow breast cancer patients. We cannot thank her and her Angels enough for all that they do.”