New £50m cross-border cancer centre to open this month
A NEW £50 million cross-border cancer centre is set to open in Derry later this month.
The Western Health and Social Care Trust has confirmed the radiotherapy service at Altnagelvin Hospital is on target to begin operations within weeks.
Work first began on the facility in June 2014. It will provide treatment for cancer patients living within the Western Trust area, the northern part of the Northern Trust and Co Donegal.
It will have three linear accelerators - the machines used to administer radiotherapy - as well as a CT simulator, CT scanner and MRI scanner and 27 inpatient beds.
It will also accommodate an expansion to the existing chemotherapy service.
Lead clinical oncologist Dr David Stewart said the opening of the new department will be phased to ensure safe delivery "to the highest standard".
“The initial phase will see a small number of new patients with prostate cancer receive their treatment at the centre. This will commence within a matter of days," he said.
"Phase two, in the new year, will see a gradual increase in the number of patients and different types of cancers being treated at the centre."
Patients will attend Altnagelvin for radiotherapy treatment when they are referred by their medical team and Dr Stewart confirmed that a patient who starts their treatment in a particular hospital will continue to have it there.
Elaine Way, chief executive of the Western Trust, said: "A new radiotherapy facility at Altnagelvin Hospital has been on the horizon for almost a decade. It is absolutely fantastic for the people of the north west and surrounding areas that we are now about to make use of this outstanding new development."