Mystery donor leaves PS500k to cancer centre; GLAN CLWYD COULD GET NEW RADIOTHERAPY UNIT.
Byline: GARETH HUGHES Daily Post Correspondent email@example.com
A PS500,000 legacy could ensure that cancer patients in North Wales will continue to receive the best treatment available without having to travel outside the area.
Tomorrow, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board will be asked to adopt a business case for a new linear accelerator for the North Wales Cancer Centre at Glan Clwyd Hospital.
There are currently four such radiotherapy machines at the centre, which opened in 2000, but one has already passed its expected operational life of 10 years. It is unreliable and, being that old, it is also not capable of doing some of the work of the more modern accelerators.
In a report to the Board Damian Heron, Director of the North Wales Cancer Network, says the five options are to do nothing, to do nothing but extend the working day of the three remaining linacs, outsourcing activity to oncology centres outside North Wales, outsourcing and extending the working day, and replacing the obsolete linac.
Mr Heron says the danger is that if a new accelerator is not acquired breakdowns and other problems with the others could reduce the capacity even further.
The preferred option is to acquire a new linac costing PS1.7m but Mr Heron reveals that the capital has already been earmarked. The Ron and Margaret Smith Cancer Charity has agreed to donate PS950,000, the Awyr Las Charity will contribute another PS250,000 and a sum of PS500,000 has been promised in the legacy of an unnamed benefactor.
Using a fourth linac to its full capacity will require six additional radiographers, costing PS250,000 a year, but savings would be made by carrying out some of the work currently done at Clatterbridge on the Wirral.
In 2020 the Merseyside regional oncology service will be transferred from Clatterbridge to the Royal Liverpool Hospital because the majority of the population it serves live some distance from the Wirral site.
According to Mr Heron that could leave extra capacity at Clatterbridge to handle North Wales cases, especially those from North East Wales.
Talks are taking place between the two Boards but Mr Heron says that as the changes will not come into effect until 2020 it does not affect the business case for a new accelerator at in Bodelwyddan.
Highlighting the need for a new linac, he says: "The significant risk is the ability to deliver radiotherapy now in line with UK targets. The North Wales Centre fails to do this now and its only realistic option for improving its performance in the mediate future is to replace its obsolete linac and maximise the replacement."
Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, Bodelwyddan