Building work has recommenced on a new £15 million Radiotherapy Centre at Eastbourne DGH.
Work ground to a halt after the first round of funding ran out – then it was delayed again while the NHS held a review into the project.
It is anticipated the new Radiotherapy Centre will open to receive its first patients in May 2017.
Once completed the new radiotherapy centre will significantly reduce the need for cancer patients to travel outside East Sussex for vital radiotherapy treatment. Currently, patients who live in East Sussex have to travel to Brighton or Maidstone in Kent for radiotherapy treatment.
The £15m investment, funded by Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, will provide two linear accelerator machines used to deliver radiotherapy within a modern, fully equipped radiotherapy facility at Eastbourne District General Hospital.
The service will be a satellite unit of the radiotherapy centre operated by the Sussex Cancer Centre from Brighton.
The new radiotherapy centre is situated below the Endoscopy Unit at Eastbourne DGH. East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust is investing in the enabling works to upgrade the electricity supply to the hospital to support this new development.
Construction work on the new radiotherapy centre was temporally halted in December awaiting final funding approval from the Department of Health. The foundations and concrete bunker walls which will house linear accelerators have already been built.
Dr Fiona McKinna, consultant oncologist, said, “It is an exciting time to see building work recommence but most importantly it is great news for local cancer care. 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.” Dr Adrian Bull, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust chief executive, said: “It is excellent news that this vital service will soon be provided at Eastbourne District General Hospital.
“The development of this new unit will bring radiotherapy into East Sussex for the first time.
“Almost half of all people with cancer need radiotherapy as part of their treatment. Patients across East Sussex will benefit from more convenient access to this state-of-the-art development.”
Dr Gillian Fairfield, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust interim chief executive, added, “Taking radiotherapy closer to people’s homes has been a long term goal for cancer care in Sussex and I am very pleased that this close working by commissioners and providers across the local NHS is coming to fruition.
“I am determined to do all I can to ensure this work is carried out swiftly so that people can benefit from this new service as soon as possible.
“Having had radiotherapy for breast cancer myself, I know how tiring it can be and why it’s so important not to have to travel too far.”
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