PLANS to refurbish and improve the cancer unit at Basingstoke hospital are progressing.

The Ark Cancer Charity has developed a scheme to improve the Rainbow Unit at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital to “enhance the experience of patients and provide a better working environment for staff”.

Under the proposal, the unit's internal layout would be changed to better suit its current requirements, with a new entrance lobby, new windows and rooflights, and an upgrade of the internal and external finishes.

A planning application has now been submitted to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, outlining the development.

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A planning document states: “The building subject to this application was originally built as a step-down unit to provide in-patient facilities in a less formal environment. The unit was later converted into an outpatient unit offering oncology treatment.

“The particularities of the treatments offered mean that the patients must visit the unit regularly and stay for extended periods of time. Having an environment that is welcoming and uplifting can have a big positive impact on patients' mental and physical health.”

It is proposed to create a “more inviting entrance to the building” that provides draught protection to the patients in the waiting area and improved energy efficiency.

A new large treatment area at the rear of the building will also be built and integrated with the existing treatment area and patient day facilities.

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The document continued: “The existing waiting/reception is now converted into a staff room and office. Other alterations include the conversion of private bedrooms into new clinic/consulting rooms and additional office spaces.”

The scheme also intends to create a new landscaped terrace to the southeast of the building, to provide a relaxing external area for both patients and staff to enjoy.

Myrddin Rees, trustee of Ark Cancer Charity, previously said: “This development stands as one of the most remarkable milestones in our fundraising journey that is designed to improve the wellbeing of all cancer patients in North Hampshire." 

In July the charity was given £500,000 from the Greenham Trust, which aims to support local charities and organisations for the benefit of the people in West Berkshire and North Hampshire, to help fund the project.