PATIENTS receiving high dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplants can be reassured of an excellent local service after Great Western Hospital was awarded international accreditation.

The Haematology Department at the GWH was inspected in October and has now received accreditation by JACIE (Joint Accreditation Committee – ISCT and EBMT).

JACIE was founded by the two leading scientific organisations involved with haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSC).

HSC transplantation requires stem cell collection from bone marrow or blood. Cells are returned intravenously to patients with damaged or defective bone marrow or immune systems to help re-establish their normal blood formation.

Dr Norbert Blesing, consultant haematologist at GWH who directed the project, said: “We have offered high dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplants since 1998. In order to continue to provide this service, however, we had to be accredited by JACIE.

“We had a very tough inspection in October last year where JACIE inspectors came to observe the work we do and make sure it was in order.

“I am so pleased that we have received the accreditation and will be able to continue to offer the transplant service to the Swindon and Wiltshire population. It demonstrates to patients that we provide high quality cancer care. The preparation for the project involved a huge amount of work and it is a credit to the commitment of our team including nurses, dieticians, pharmacists, quality and data managers.”

Accreditation means that GWH can demonstrate it is performing to internationally agreed standards of excellence when it comes to stem cell transplantation. It allows patients to be treated in a familiar environment, close to home with a high standard of care.

Dr Blesing said: “I became a JACIE inspector myself as I wanted to understand better what it was all about.

“Interestingly, it has been shown that outcomes for patients are better in organisations with accredited services than those without.”