Campaign for radiotherapy unit at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital takes major step forward

Hitchin MP Peter Lilley, Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland, North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald, chie

Hitchin MP Peter Lilley, Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland, North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald, chief executive of the East and North Herts NHS Trust Nick Carver and the Trust's chairman Ellen Schroder met at Parliament to discuss satellite radiotherapy and vascular surgical services at Lister Hospital in Stevenage. - Credit: Archant

Specialist cancer treatment could be brought to Stevenage’s Lister Hospital if a campaign being backed by three members of parliament is successful.

The MPs representing North Hertfordshire and Stevenage – Sir Oliver Heald, Peter Lilley and Stephen McPartland – met with the Lister Hospital’s chief executive and chairman in parliament last week to further their drive for a specialist radiotherapy unit to be brought to the Coreys Mill Lane hospital.

If the plans for a multi-million pound new building are successful, patients would not have to travel to Mount Vernon in Hillingdon for routine radiotherapy treatment.

The East and North Herts NHS Trust’s chairman Nick Carver confirmed that the Trust is working with the independent sector to study patterns of patient referrals and flows to the radiotherapy services provided at the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, and that work is also underway to agree the appropriate groups of patients suitable to receive their radiotherapy in a satellite unit.

He said the studies should be completed by the end of February, followed by approval of the Trust’s outline business case for the satellite centre in March.

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This will then allow the Trust to work up a final business case with a preferred bidder between October and December 2017.

If all goes to plan, the new facility could be open by the end of 2018.

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Mr Carver said: “The NHS trust has been clear in its support of building a satellite radiotherapy unit, linked to the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, within Herts for some time.

“This is why I am very pleased to see progress being made, working in collaboration with specialist colleagues in the private sector.”

Mr McPartland, MP for Stevenage, said: “It was a fantastic meeting and I am delighted that business cases for both campaigns are now completed and will be considered shortly by NHS England and the board of the East & North Herts Hospital Trust, which manages the Lister Hospital.”

Mr Lilley, who represents Hitchin & Harpenden in Westminster, added: “It was great news that the NHS trust is making progress on bringing both a radiotherapy unit and vascular surgery services to the Lister. These could transform the lives of patients in my constituency.”

Sir Oliver added: “North East Herts residents have had to travel long distances to access radiotherapy and specialist artery surgery. They have strongly supported our campaign to bring these to Lister and I was encouraged by the progress being made by the Trust. I will continue to press for action.”

In 2010, a campaign launched for the radiotherapy unit by the Comet, in partnership with Mr McPartland, attracted almost 2,000 supporters.

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