‘Spend Now On Cancer Services’

HOSPITAL bosses must spend another £12.4m to maintain services for cancer patients across North Wales.

With the number of cases expected to keep on rising, chiefs have warned that steps must be taken now to safeguard services over the next 10 years.

Members of the board of the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust will next week consider a business case for the replacement of the two linear accelerators (linacs) in the North Wales Cancer Treatment Centre at Bodelwyddan.

The cost of purchasing the two new linacs and building two new bunkers in which to house them is put at £12.4m.

Various options for maintaining services were considered by consultants engaged by the Trust.

And it was felt that having the two new linacs in place alongside the two original ones would mean not having to reduce services by taking one of the existing appliances out of service.

“Failure to implement the project will result in the suspension of radiotherapy provision at NWCTC,” says the report.

“It should be noted that no viable contingency plans exist in the event of project failure because of the similar demand and capacity pressures that neighbouring centres are experiencing.”

The 10-year lifespan of two of the current linacs comes to an end in 2010 and of the third in 2014.

“This project will not provide additional capacity to the service but is essential in order to replace the ageing equipment and ensure the future of the service for another 10-year period from 2011/12,” the report continues.

“Locally there is forecast to be an increasingly elderly population and historically North Wales has a higher than average incidence of cancer. “Both these factors will continue to drive the demand for NWCTC services for the foreseeable future.”