A major step towards radiotherapy centre at Stevenage's Lister Hospital
PUBLISHED: 08:30 14 June 2018
Plans to build a multi-million pound cancer centre at Stevenage's Lister Hospital, to prevent patients from having to make a 70-mile round trip for routine radiotherapy, have taken a major step forward.
The business case for a satellite radiotherapy centre, which could provide 80 per cent of radiotherapy for cancer patients living in east and north Hertfordshire, has now been completed for the Stevenage site.
Backed by eight Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire MPs, Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland has now written to the East of England Cancer Alliance asking for it to see the project through to its conclusion.
There is currently no radiotherapy provision in Herts or Beds – despite being home to almost two million people – and patients have to travel to the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Middlesex, a journey which needs to be made many times during treatment.
Mr McPartland said: “We have met NHS England and a variety of organisations several times and have now reached the stage of the East and North Herts NHS Trust, which runs Lister, completing a business case.
“The realistic expectation would be to have one or two linear accelerators on or near the Lister site which could treat breast cancer, colorectal cancer, pelvic cancers – including prostate – and palliation of lung cancer and bone and brain metastases.
“It will be unlikely this facility would be suitable for head and neck radiotherapy, which would have to be undertaken at Mount Vernon.
“A clinical oncologist is on site at Lister most days, so medical cover is not a major issue.
“Our understanding is such a facility would have a capital cost of about £20 million and we are committed to asking the Chancellor for the funds if the Cancer Alliance is able to take control of the project and drive it forward to a successful conclusion.
“Patient experience helps to improve outcomes for patients and bringing cancer care closer to people’s homes is a necessary step in revolutionising cancer treatment in our area.”
The MPs plan to make a submission to the Chancellor for the Autumn Budget.
An NHS trust spokesman said: “We very much welcome our local MPs’ support for a satellite radiotherapy service to be created here in Hertfordshire. We will be in contact with the Cancer Alliance to understand what needs to happen next.”