The £2.3 million unit is twice the size of the previous unit and also has 11 ensuite rooms.
More than £500,000 was raised towards the unit by the Friends of Eastbourne Hospital as well as substantial donations from families who have lost loved ones to cancer including the Rorrington, Lambird and O’Hara families.
Friends chair Peter Nash said at the opening, “Support for the Pevensey Appeal has been exceptional. Unfortunately the project was plagued by many delays until a firm decision was made to combine two existing wards in to one to create the new Pevensey Ward. We now have a facility to be proud of.”
Consultant haematologist Dr Richard Grace said, “The development of the new Pevensey Ward and Day Unit will provide a much improved environment, greater privacy and comfort for patients and their families during these testing times.”
Sue O’Hara, who lost her daughter Tuesday to leukaemia four years ago aged 18, has been a prominent fundraiser.
Sue said, “From the moment we were told Tuesday had leukaemia on Pevensey Ward, she had excellent care and understanding from all the staff.
“I have great respect for Dr Grace and Jean Baulcombe and all the other nurse and house keeping staff that cared for Tuesday and all the patients.
“They helped us through some very scary and emotional times and I wanted to give something back to the staff for all their kindness and help over the years so decided to help raise funds for the new ward and equip a young adult’s room where they could have a home from home feel through such a hard time.”
David Lambird, whose son Chris, a sportsman and local businessman, died of cancer, said, “Chris was so impressed with the wonderful staff at Pevensey and concerned the ward was so busy, he made the family promise to do all we could to make things better for everyone concerned.
“Chris would, like us, be very proud to have played a small part in this huge success. EDGH will now have the latest, largest specialist cancer care centre in the south east.”
Pevensey patient Julie Barrow said she had only ever received the most professional dedicated care provided by the “loveliest doctors and nurses you could ever wish to meet”.
Julie said, “My journey was only made bearable by the care and attention I received on the ward on a daily basis.
“They were like a second family to me and those around me. I will always be eternally grateful to them all and I know there will be many other patients and their families that feel the same as I do about this fabulous group of caring staff.”
Acting chair of the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust which runs the DGH, Susan Bernhauser said, “This is a fantastic new facility for patients, staff, carers and relatives.
“We are enormously grateful for all the hard work, fundraising and support the Friends of Eastbourne Hospital has given along with the fundraising of many others including that of our staff.
“Large NHS capital investment programme work is never as speedy as we would all like but we now have a superb new unit for our patients and staff to offer the best possible care.”
The unit was officially opened by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex Peter Field.
Photographs courtesy of the Eastbourne Herald with thanks