Brexit will not affect cross border Radiotherapy Unit

Members of Co-operating for Cancer Care NorthWest pictured at unveiling of plans for NW Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin.
Members of Co-operating for Cancer Care NorthWest pictured at unveiling of plans for NW Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin.

The Department of Health has said that Brexit will have “no impact” on the £66m cross-border Radiotherapy Unit due to open at Altnagelvin next month.

Cancer survivors in the north west had called on the Health Ministers on both sides of the border to reaffirm their commitment to the £66m facility.

The site of the new Radiotherapy Centre at Altnagelvin Hospital. INLS0316-157KM

The site of the new Radiotherapy Centre at Altnagelvin Hospital. INLS0316-157KM

Work is under way to construct the Radiotherapy Unit in the grounds of Altnagelvin Hospital, with the facility due to open later this year.

It will cater for people from across the western region on both sides of the border.

Donegal Co-Operation for Cancer Care (NW) Group had asked the Health Ministers to reaffrim their commitment to the jointly funded project amid the general uncertainty created by the UK vote to leave the European Union.

Noelle Duddy from CCC(NW) said: “The NorthWest Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin is funded by both Governments, North and South. This exciting cross border project enjoys the goodwill and support of government, politicians, health services and communities from both sides of the border. It is not an EU Project.

“Whilst CCC(NW) remains optimistic that ‘Brexit’ will not stop patients living in Donegal from accessing radiotherapy treatments in Altnagelvin when it opens its doors, we have written to both Minister of Health, Michelle O’Neill, MLA and Minister of Health, Simon Harris, TD, requesting that they “issue a clear statement as soon as possible, to reassure people living on both sides of the border, in the North West Region of this Island, that ‘Brexit’ will have no impact on cancer patients receiving radiotherapy treatments in the cross border Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin, when it becomes operational in late autumn of this year and that work to complete this project is continuing and unaffected.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health in the north responded yesterday:

“Approval for the new Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin was given in May, 2014 at a capital cost of £66.1m which includes a €19m contribution from the south of Ireland. To date €11m capital funding has been received from the south in line with the agreed schedule of payments. Brexit will therefore have no impact on the construction and opening of this facility.”

Minister Joe McHugh, TD, meanwhile has informed CCC(NW) that it is “business as usual”.

A spokesperson for the Western Trust, meanwhile, said: “We are considering the implications of Brexit. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”