Alaw Unit at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor has been accredited for its excellent stem cell service by a prestigious health organisation.

The Alaw Unit has received accreditation from Joint Accreditation Committee, the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation and the International Society for Celluar Therapy. This demonstrates that the Alaw Unit is performing to a required level of practice in accordance with agreed international standards of excellence.

This allows the unit to undertake High-dose therapy and autologous stem-cell transplant, These are effective but intensive treatments for some forms of haematological cancer, especially some lymphomas and myelomas. They can be used to consolidate initial therapy or as a salvage treatment in relapse and have contributed hugely to the survivability of haematological diseases.

Prior to 1990, all North Wales patients travelled to Liverpool or Manchester to receive such treatment.

The existing service was set up by Dr Huw Parry in 1990, for patients in the areas of Gwynedd and Ynys Mon and was further expanded in 1998 by Dr David Edwards to provide a shared-care service for patients from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. More recently the service has established firm links with the Christie Hospital for all aspects of marrow and stem-cell transplantation.

Dr Edwards, Consultant Haematologist at Ysbyty Gwynedd, said: “In order to regulate and monitor the quality of the service the Joint Accreditation Committee has developed a set of over 1000 standards that must be met to achieve accreditation.

“There is no amendment for the size of the organisation and the inspectors are all active transplanters themselves.

“The stem-cell service in Ysbyty Gwynedd that also cares for patients from Glan Clwyd Hospital has now achieved the accreditation by meeting all these standards, ensuring that it provides a service on a par with any major centre in the UK, Europe or the USA.”