Rainbow Unit in Shrewsbury to be training centre

Images and logo of Children's Rainbow Cancer unit The Rainbow Unit opened in 2004

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A children's cancer unit in Shropshire is to be turned into a training centre for doctors and nurses.

The Rainbow Unit at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital will be given the new role when children's cancer services move to Telford in 2014.

Backing the plan, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust's board said the centre would specialise in paediatric skills.

The unit's closure has upset residents who raised £800,000 to set it up.

The Rainbow Unit opened in 2004, following fundraising efforts by residents and led by the Lingen Davies Cancer Relief Fund.

The training centre was chosen out of six options for the unit's future put forward by members of the public.

'Difficult decision'

The trust said its board agreed with the Legacy Task Group, made up of staff, patients and families connected to the Rainbow Unit, that the centre's focus should be on paediatric training.

It also agreed the building should have space for community groups, in particular children's groups and charities, to use for meetings and events.

Cathy Smith, deputy centre chief for women and children's, said: "The trust acknowledges that this has been a very difficult decision to make and that there is still great sadness over the loss of the unit.

"By becoming a centre where our doctors and nurses can be trained to help care for children in the future, this will continue the legacy of the Rainbow Unit and build on the fantastic care that our staff have provided to children with cancer from across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and mid Wales."

The changes aim to focus services at one hospital, rather than being split across the two sites, the trust said.

The main paediatric and maternity units will move to Princess Royal Hospital, Telford, while acute surgery will be based in Shrewsbury.

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