A DREAM is nearer coming true after plans for a satellite radiotherapy unit at a Worcester hospital received the final seal of approval.
NHS Midlands and East has this week approved plans to build the county's first radiotherapy centre at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester.
With this final seal of approval Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust can now finalise contracts for the new centre and begin building work, with the centre on scheduled to open in late 2014. This news follows on from the Department of Health approving the £22.4million loan to fund the project and the three new Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups agreeing to provide additional local funding.
The centre will provide radiotherapy treatment for the county’s cancer patients and means that they will no longer face long journeys out of the county for their care. It is estimated it will save patients around one million miles of travel every year.
The state of the art radiotherapy facilities will also mean more effective targeting of tumours, less damage to surrounding tissue and less risk of complications. The new radiotherapy centre will be built with space for up to five radiotherapy machines, with three in place initially.
The Trust is working together with the Clinical Commissioning Groups and its strategic partner, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust to ensure that the vast majority of radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments will be delivered within Worcestershire - which is great news for local patients.
Simon Hairsnape, speaking on behalf of NHS Worcestershire said: “The new radiotherapy centre will ensure that the vast majority of radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments will be delivered within Worcestershire - which is great news for local patients.”
Adel Makar, Lead Cancer Clinician said: “This is excellent news for the population of Worcestershire. For the first time ever they will have a state of the art radiotherapy centre at the heart of their community.
“As important as this milestone is, it only represents a piece of the jigsaw (albeit a big piece) in the wider Worcestershire Oncology Project, which includes other developments like the Acute Oncology service, streamlining of multidisciplinary team workings and other, which are well underway.
Our aim is to ensure that every cancer patient in Worcestershire will have access to state of the art, timely, holistic care, locally in Worcestershire whenever possible.
“This kind of service development and improvement is the archetype of what we are trying to do in Worcestershire to improve patient services both in terms of quality and accessibility.”
Paul Crawford, former patient and throat cancer survivor said: "This is wonderful news for Worcestershire cancer patients and their carers. This new local radiotherapy centre will prevent patients from having to travel miles out of county for their treatment often in far from comfortable conditions.
“This centre will provide treatment for generations to come by giving Worcestershire its own well needed facility. Bring on the diggers and turn a dream into reality.”