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Charity backs new help for city cancer patients; Delight at pounds 15m support for services.

Byline: BY DAVID HIGGERSON Daily Post Staff

CHARITY campaigner Marina Dalglish has pledged her charity's full backing to a new centre set to provide lifesaving radiotherapy treatment in Liverpool for the first time.

Dalglish, whose foundation raised the money for a chemotherapy centre at Univeristy Hospital Aintree, said she was delighted radiotherapy services would also be provided there.

The Liverpool Daily Post revealed yesterday that pounds 15m is be spent creating the radiotherapy centre, as part of a pounds 30m package to ensure future demand is met.

Cancer cases are expected to rocket in the next few years in Merseyside, with some types of cancer more than doubling by 2020.

Mrs Dalglish said: "The expertise and professionalism of the staff at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology is second to none - and the expansion of their services is important and welcome news for the people of Liverpool.

"My charity, The Marina Dalglish Appeal, will be backing the Centre every step of the way in helping to make this ambitious project a reality."

Up until now, all radiotherapy care in Merseyside was provided at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology.

The pounds 30m investment is being co-ordinated by the region's primary care trusts and Clatterbridge. As well as the pounds 15m for the Liverpool radiotherapy services, pounds 15m has also been approved for a further three machines.

Those machines would be based at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, which is planning to create a cancer research centre.

The new centre at Aintree should be operational by 2010, and has been chosen because of its proximity to Walton Neurological Centre, where many patients with brain tumours receive surgery before referral for radiotherapy at Clatterbridge.

Although based at the Aintree site, the first new treatment facility will be owned by Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology and operated by its specialist doctors, physicists and radiographers. It is dependent on Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology securing the appropriate finances and planning approval.

Chief executive at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, Darren Hurrell, said: "This is a major investment by our hospital for the benefit of the people of Merseyside and Cheshire.

"These plans will mean improved accessibility and better waiting times for treatment at Clatterbridge for the people of Cheshire and Wirral."

Ray Murphy, a patient representative on the Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Network Taskforce that advises PCTs and a governor at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology added: "When attending a radiotherapy appointment every day for up to six weeks, the time spent by some patients travelling to and from Clatterbridge mounts up significantly.

"This development is great news as reduced journey times will limit any stress for patients."

The proposals are aimed at complying with national recommendations that no patient should travel more than 45 minutes for radiotherapy.

At the moment, two thirds of cancer patients in Merseyside and Cheshire live north of the River Mersey, and there are no radiotherapy treatment facilities outside of Clatterbridge.

Business will continue as usual at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, a national centre of excellence for cancer treatment that was established in 1958 for patients across Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and the Isle of Man.

davidhiggerson@dailypost.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Marina Dalglish, at last year's opening of the University Hospital Aintree chemotherapy centre, is now backing a new radiotherapy centre; The Clatterbridge centre; Darren Hurrell
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 2, 2008
Words:549
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