Building work at Eastbourne DGH’s delayed radiotherapy ward will begin again soon after the Department of Health approved new funding for the project.
Work on the £15 million scheme ground to a halt in November after the its first round of funding ran out.
The second round had been expected to follow in January but was delayed for several weeks as the NHS Trust Development Authority held a review into the project.
The new funding was approved on Tuesday, February 23, after the review concluded.
Dr Fiona McKinna, consultant oncologist at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust, said, “It is great news that the building work can re-commence. People who need radiotherapy often have to come in daily for a number of weeks.“Opening a radiotherapy treatment centre in Eastbourne will make a very real, practical difference for some of our sickest patients, dramatically reducing the time they spend travelling at this difficult time.”
The new round of funding means building work can begin again in the coming months although the project is unlikely to be completed by Spring 2016 as originally planned.
The ward is now expected to be finished by the end of this year
The announcement has also been welcomed by Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell.
Mrs Ansell said, “I have worked hard with my Government colleagues over the last three months to ensure that the money was found to continue work on this unit.
“This is fantastic news for the town and the region beyond, and is long overdue.
“It means that there will be a top-class facility in Eastbourne for cancer patients, which will make a huge difference to quality of life while undergoing accessible and effective treatment for many years to come.
“Building such a centre of excellence at the DGH should also help to inspire confidence in residents that our local hospital has a bright future ahead.
“Thanks must go to those people who have worked so hard for many years to see this project come to reality.”
The finished ward will act as a satellite unit of the radiotherapy centre based at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, which is operated by the Sussex Cancer Centre.
It will have specialist equipment including two linear accelerator machines, known as Linacs, which use high energy X-rays to destroy tumours.
Currently patients who live in East Sussex have to travel to Brighton or Maidstone in Kent for this treatment.
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