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Monday 04 February 2013 Updated: 05/02 09:24
PLANS to build the county's first radiotherapy treatment unit at Worcestershire Royal Hospital have cleared the final hurdle.
NHS Midlands and East has approved proposals to build the unit which means Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust can now finalise contracts and begin building work, with the centre scheduled to open in late 2014.
It comes in the wake of the Department of Health approving a £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 reduced risk of complications.
The 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 the vast majority of radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments are delivered within Worcestershire.
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."
Paul Crawford, a 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.”
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