THIS is the first glimpse inside Worcester’s new £24 million radiotherapy unit, which will allow cancer patients to get care closer to home.

The unit at Worcestershire Royal Hospital received the final seal of approval by the board of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which signed off the project’s business case this week.

The unit, once completed, will mean patients no longer have to travel out of the county for radiotherapy, a major part of NHS Worcestershire’s Cancer Strategy (2010-14), which has a mission to deliver cancer care on people’s doorstep.

The business case still needs approval by the strategic health authority, NHS Midlands and East, together with the three emerging clinical commissioning groups.

The decision marks an-other hurdle cleared on the path to opening the centre in 2014. The unit has also been approved by the project’s strategic partners University Hospitals Cov-entry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.

It is estimated the unit will save patients about one million miles of travel every year, not to mention easing the stress for patients battling cancer, and their families.

Penny Venables, chief executive of Worcester-shire Acute Hospitals Trust, said: “We all know someone who has been affected by cancer and this scheme offers local people the best treatments available and a modern working environment for staff.”

Adel Makar, the trust’s consultant urologist and lead cancer clinician, said: “This is exciting news for the people of Worcestershire.

“What has been a long- held dream will at last start becoming a reality.”