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MP opposes cancer care shake-up plan.

Byline: BY LIZA WILLIAMS Daily Post Staff

A WIRRAL MP is opposing multi-million pound plans to move cancer services from Clatterbridge in Wirral to Liverpool.

The Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Network (MCCN) recommended major investment in cancer care throughout the region in a report in October, 2008.

It could see key nonsurgical oncology services transferring from Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology (CCO) to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

But Ben Chapman, MP for Wirral South, has expressed his concern and is pursuing the issue with ministers.

The proposals will be discussed by local PCTs in April and May. Any potential move is several years away according to experts, due to the pounds 150m investment needed.

The MCCN says changes would mean improved access to more specialised and better treatments for those who are in need of critical care. Representatives for NHS Wirral say whatever happens, outpatient radiotherapy and chemotherapy will still be available on the site.

Mr Chapman said: "CCO is a much valued Wirral-based organisation that has served the region and area efficiently and well.

"It is highly regarded, is the winner of many awards and has a place in people's hearts. Residents of Wirral and beyond will be very concerned at any suggestion it could be relocated.

"I appreciate that such a proposal may be a long way off fruition, but I don't believe it should be allowed to gain any credibility on my watch."

He and fellow Wirral MP Frank Field have now set up a meeting with the chair of the Strategic Health Authority. "We will also be pursuing the issue with ministers."

The proposals recommend CCO runs any new radiotherapy services at the Royal.

CCO chief executive Darren Hurrell said: "If commissioners wish to pursue such a recommendation, we'll seek to establish an objective process with them that will examine the viability of a relocation."

He added that investments will continue at CCO. October, 2008, saw the first phase of a pounds 4m investment plan finished.

Kathy Doran, MCCN chair and chief executive of NHS Wirral, added: "Whatever option is considered . . . outpatient chemotherapy and radiotherapy would continue to be provided at CCO for Wirral and Cheshire patients.

"Furthermore, no significant changes would be made to any cancer services in the region without full and open public consultation."

lizawilliams@dailypost.co.uk

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 31, 2009
Words:389
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