A BREAST unit which has helped tens of thousands of women in Worcestershire will be allowed to expand after multi-million-pound plans were given the green light by the council.

Worcestershire Breast Unit which opened after years of hard work and fundraising in 2016 is set to expand by more than two thirds allowing staff to cope with hundreds more patients.

The £4 million expansion plans for the unit, based at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital site in Worcester, will create a dedicated screening area for the unit allowing twice as many women to be examined.

Kidderminster Shuttle: An artist's impression of the expanded Worcestershire Breast UnitAn artist's impression of the expanded Worcestershire Breast Unit

The extension would also allow the screening area to open independently at weekends – something that is not currently possible – to ease pressure on the rest of the facility in the week.

The work also means specialists in Bromsgrove will move to the facility in Worcester.

The facility was the vision of consultant breast surgeon Steven Thrush who spearheaded a fundraising campaign starting in 2009 raising the £1.8 million needed to open the facility.

Mr Thrush thanked breast radiologist Dr Penny Haggett who was instrumental in gaining the funding for the expansion.

The unit opened in February 2016 thanks to the generosity of people in Worcestershire and has since gone from strength to strength.

The facility offers screenings, treatment, therapy, and counselling, and has screened tens of thousands of women in its short history including many women showing symptoms of breast cancer.

The expansion of the unit would prove essential in helping the six hundred women a year who are diagnosed with breast cancer in Worcestershire.

In May, an excited Mr Thrush said allowing the extension to go ahead would make the facilities one of the best in the country.

“It is going to be one of the best units around having all of those [teams] together,” he said.

Kidderminster Shuttle: An artist's sketch of the expanded Worcestershire Breast UnitAn artist's sketch of the expanded Worcestershire Breast Unit

“It will also be covering screening for Herefordshire and it is making a hub which will future proof the services.

“It means we can continue to improve, it means we can continue to develop the services and it will help with keeping people there.

If we have world-class facilities, which we will have, it will help with recruitment and of course it is going to make better patient care. It’s brilliant.

“We’re going to have a facility that we can continue to be proud of.

“We always said before that once we had this building we wanted to continue to develop it and this is another example of that.”