Altnagelvin’s radiotherapy centre to open within a year

Members of Stormont Health Committee and senior management of the Western Trust with the construction crew at the new radiotherapy centre at Altnagelvin Hospital.
Members of Stormont Health Committee and senior management of the Western Trust with the construction crew at the new radiotherapy centre at Altnagelvin Hospital.

A new multi million pound radiotherapy centre based at Altnagelvin Hospital will be open with a year.

Members of the Stormont’s health committee were on the building site of the new centre earlier today to see the progress of the project which is set to open in the Autumn of 2016.

The radiotherapy centre which has been described as a “hospital within a hospital” will be a cross border project providing treatments to people with cancer both North and South of the Border.

215 staff will work in the radiotherapy centre which will be fitted state of the art equipment.

Chair of Stormont’s health committee Maeve McLaughlin revealed she had organised today’s visit so members could see the reality of the radiotherapy centre themselves and some of the challenges that had been faced.

“We were very focussed on getting the committee to Derry because the radiotherapy unit here was long fought for,” said the Sinn Fein MLA.

“It’s a real showcase in terms of cross border co-operation. Issues like cancer don’t just stop at a border. We have issues such as people from Donegal travelling eight hours on a bus to get treatment.

“This radiotherapy centre will have a real impact and it is important that others parties and MLAs see it for themselves.”

Manager of the radiotherapy unit Una Cardin revealed that advanced recruitment for roles in the centre was ongoing with a more intensive recruitment drive next year.

“The centre will make a huge difference,” she said. “What we hear from families is that it will bring treatment closer to them. It’s more accessible and we hope more people will take up treatment that perhaps haven’t because of the challenge of travelling to centres that were so far away.”

For full story see Friday’s Journal.