Cancer patients to be spared long trips
CANCER patients in east Norfolk and Waveney will be spared a long trip to Norwich thanks to plans to start radiotherapy at their local hospital.The James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, wants to spend �22m on a radiotherapy centre so that cancer patients can be treated nearer to home.
CANCER patients in east Norfolk and Waveney will be spared a long trip to Norwich thanks to plans to start radiotherapy at their local hospital.
The James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, wants to spend �22m on a radiotherapy centre so that cancer patients can be treated nearer to home. Radiotherapy, which is typically given as a four to six week course, cures more cancers than chemotherapy, but in Norfolk is only done at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
The JPH's plans are in the early stages, and funding needs to be found for them. The major plans involve buying two linear accelerators, which are the machines that deliver high-energy radiation, costing around �1.5m each. A new building - which will have to include lead-lined rooms - will be constructed on the hospital grounds, and new staff, including clinical scientists, technical medical officers and electronic engineers, will be needed.
It is not clear when the new unit would open, but it is likely to be before 2012, by when the government wants all patients to have no more than a 45-minute journey for radiotherapy.
Hospital chairman John Hemming said: 'At the moment people have to go to the N&N for radiotherapy. Everyone is very supportive of the project at the moment, but it is a case of finding the �22m.'
The N&N has four linear accelerators and treats 2,200 people a year.
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The JPH is currently missing its target to treat patients at A&E within four hours. Finance and performance director Julie Cave told the governors' council on Friday that a rise in emergency admissions in January and February had caused the hospital to miss the national target for treating 98pc of people within four hours. It also missed its targets for bed-blocking and cancelled operations, which rose between December and February because of extra pressure on beds. But it is meeting all its other targets and is well under its target for cases of the superbugs MRSA and C difficile.