NHS 'vision' means Wirral's award-winning cancer treatment centre will be based in Liverpool (From Wirral Globe)
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NHS 'vision' means Wirral's award-winning cancer treatment centre will be based in Liverpool
A MAJOR change for Wirral cancer sufferers is planned leaving award-winning Clatterbridge oncology centre able to give treatment only to outpatients.
Health service administrators want to set up a “world-class” unit in Liverpool to provide care for cancer patients across Wirral, Cheshire and Merseyside.
Clatterbridge was recently voted one of the best cancer treatment centres in the country.
A nationwide survey in August found 92% of Clatterbridge patients rated their care as "excellent" or "very good".
But the region's NHS trust says its "vision” for cancer care is to establish a new Liverpool unit working in partnership with Clatterbridge.
A report to next Monday night's meeting of Wirral Council's health scrutiny committee says it is "recognised" Wirral patients will have to travel further for their care.
But it says outpatient radiotherapy for sufferers with cancers such as breast, prostate and lung would continue to be provided by Clatterbridge.
Only patients who need more complex treatment or inpatient facilities requiring a stay in hospital would be required to travel to the “new Clatterbridge centre” in the city.
The cost of the project will be close to £91m.
The document says it is important to note cancer is now the biggest single cause of death in Cheshire and Merseyside, overtaking cardio-vascular disease.
NHS managers point out Clatterbridge is not centrally located for the population it serves, with 67% living north of the River Mersey.
They say the shake-up is justified as the uneven distribution of cancer means approximately 73% of all patients live north of the river.
Their report states: “Clatterbridge is isolated from other specialist cancer services and cannot provide acute services such as intensive care for the sickest of patients.
"Opportunities to pursue ground-breaking innovations such as intra-operative radiotherapy are currently hampered by the physical separation.”
The regional NHS trust claims that by expanding the Clatterbridge “franchise” to create a combined centre with other research teams, all cancer patients - including those from Wirral and West Cheshire : “will benefit from greater participation in international-standard research and clinical trials."
It is estimated the new centre could open with, or shortly after, the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital in 2017.
Public consultation events to discuss the scheme are being held throughout the region.
A recent move to relocate vascular services away from Arrowe Park Hospital to the Countess of Chester caused a public outcry and has led Merseyside TUC to seek a judicial review.
Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies has written to the Government saying the relocation decision was "perverse" and should be halted.