Cornwall is to get a £30 million extension to its main hospital to treat patients with cancer, blood diseases and other conditions.

A new MRI suite, 24-bed haematology oncology Ward and associated facilities will be built at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

The current oncology ward, Lowen Ward, will relocate to the new unit in autumn 2022.

The circa £30 million development in Treliske, Truro, is being funded via national NHS capital funding.

The new building will be a three-storey extension to the existing Trelawny Wing, with the MRI suite connected at lower ground floor level to the imaging department and designed to contain up to three scanners.

Sarah Caskey, clinical matron at the Trust, said: “Having worked within cancer nursing care for 25 years I am delighted and honoured to have been involved from the start of this project and to be part of providing a new ward for the haematology and oncology patients of Cornwall.

"Nursing and medical staff, along with patients, have contributed to the design of the ward and acute oncology assessment area. We will have an increase in specialised isolation rooms and overall bed provision.

"Myself and my nursing team are excited at this opportunity to be able provide the highest standards of care with the most up to date facilities and environment for our patients."

The new Lowen Ward – “Lowen”, a modern Cornish vocabulary word meaning “joyful” – will be a 24-bed ward that specialises in looking after haematology, oncology and palliative patients.

It will also care for patients who need to be isolated as part of their treatment with specially ventilated rooms dedicated to this purpose.

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has appointed BAM Construction to carry out the work.

The company said the challenge includes diverting a significant range of services in a live hospital environment, and "considerable logistical limitations" on access.

Work on the main building phase of the project will begin on site shortly, using new methods BAM has adopted in order to create social distancing and operate safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Initial enabling works were completed at the end of January this year, with full completion of the scheme planned for autumn 2022.

Graham Kingdon, construction director, said: “We’ve been on site conducting minor works for the Trust over the last couple of years so we have formed a good understanding and relationship with them and our partners in advance of the major works commencing.

“We will have to keep the hospital fully functional during this time despite the technical challenges.

“As ever, communication between us is critical to achieve exactly what the Trust needs to provide the right services for people across Cornwall into the future. I’m pleased to say that we’re local here too and it means a great deal to us to be involved.”

Key partners for the scheme include architects Stride Treglown, structural engineers Arup, and mechanical and electrical providers Hoare Lea.

BAM said the development will create both local employment and training opportunities, with local companies such as T Clarke, WBM groundworks and Luscombes already appointed.