CANCER patients in Worcestershire could be missing out on 10,000 radiotherapy treatments a year because of a lack of local services, a top doctor has said.
Adel Makar, lead cancer clinician at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said patients from Worcestershire receive about 20,000 doses of radiotherapy treatment every year.
But Mr Makar said that is 10,000 fewer than they should be receiving based on national estimates and treatments given in counties with similar populations.
Mr Makar is hoping to redress the balance with the opening of a new state-of-the art £22.5 million radiotherapy centre at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
Worcestershire currently lacks its own dedicated radiotherapy facilities, meaning patients have to make long journeys out of the county, often on a daily basis, at what can be a difficult time physically and psychologically. He believes that fact alone accounts for the low uptake of radiotherapy treatments received by patients.
“The new centre will be a sea-change,” he said. “Having almost all the cancer services and specialist staff patients need under one roof will help streamline services.
“Cancer treatment is usually very complex and takes a long time and patients will usually have to come back time and time again for different treatment,” he said.
Mr Makar first proposed the dedicated radiotherapy unit in 2008. He is delighted to see it on schedule to open by the end of 2014.
“It has been a long-held dream and I am over the moon to see it becoming a reality,” he said.
”This is not just an added bonus, it is fundamental to their care.”
l Mr Makar was speaking to your Worcester News as part of Lung Cancer Awareness month.
A carpet of 200 white daffodil bulbs has been planted at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, one for every person diagnosed with lung cancer in Worcester and Kidderminster each year – and the acute trust is encouraging people to buy their own bulbs to raise money for a new support group.
To buy bulbs, visit hayloft-plants.co.uk.
You can donate at worcsacute.nhs.uk/whitedaffodil.