Two state-of-the-art machines which will for the first time provide radiotherapy treatment for cancer patients in outer south east London have been delivered to the new Cancer Centre at Queen Mary’s Hospital.
This is a significant milestone in the £30 million redevelopment of the Queen Mary’s site by Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.
The linear accelerators, which weigh in at 10 tonnes each, arrived on the Cancer Centre construction site on Monday (4 April) – the brand new Guy’s and St Thomas’ centre is due to open to patients in summer 2016.
When the new Cancer Centre opens, most patients will no longer have to travel into central London for radiotherapy and chemotherapy because Guy’s and St Thomas’ staff will provide these treatments at Queen Mary’s.
The Cancer Centre will include not only the two new linear accelerator machines for radiotherapy treatment but also chemotherapy treatment facilities and a new Dimbleby Macmillan Support Centre, an information and supportive care service for cancer patients and their families.
Limited chemotherapy is already provided at Queen Mary’s but more patients will be able to have treatment when the new Cancer Centre opens – and radiotherapy will be available in outer south east London for the first time.
June Casson, 67, a retired civil servant from Downham, chairs the Patient Reference Group which has shaped the new Cancer Centre.
She said: "My cancer treatment 11 years ago included daily radiotherapy treatment at St Thomas’ Hospital. I was travelling up to 90 minutes each way every day for treatment. The new Cancer Centre is really needed by patients in Bexley and the surrounding areas because radiotherapy is tiring and traumatic enough without commuting into central London for treatment."
Angela Francis, Head of Radiotherapy Services at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: "We have worked with patients and healthcare professionals in south east London over a number of years to bring treatment nearer to where patients live. The arrival of the linear accelerators at Queen Mary’s is a really exciting milestone in the development of our new Cancer Centre which will benefit many local people."
Ben Travis, Acting Chief Executive of Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, added: "The new Cancer Centre is part of our plans to develop Queen Mary’s into a vibrant, modern hub for healthcare for the local community. This is one step in an exciting journey for the hospital."