Construction of a new £50 million cancer treatment centre in Derry is to start in May, health chiefs have revealed.
It’s anticipated the new multi-million pound radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin Hospital will open and be in operational use by mid-2016.
Enabling works to clear the site for the new unit are ongoing - including the relocation of the hospital’s mortuary facilities.
It’s believed the Western Health Trust (WHSCT) will shortly be advertising the first tranche of Consultant Oncologist posts and other medical roles.
The latest progress has been welcomed by local SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood.
“Confirmation that the construction of the new state-of-the-art radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin is to get underway in May is very welcome news for cancer patients and their families in the North West region,” he said.
“When completed, the facility will greatly ease the burden of travel for ill and frail patients in need of essential life saving treatment.
“The unit will provide a first rate service for patients from all over the North West, including Donegal, heading into the next decade and beyond.”
The new treatment unit, which will increase radiotherapy capacity in Northern Ireland, is a unique cross-border project, providing treatments to people with cancer from both north and south of the border.
The unit will provide access to radiotherapy services to more than half million people. In the region of 417,000
people living in the Derry, Strabane, Limavady, Omagh, Fermanagh, Coleraine, Moyle and Ballymoney local council
areas and 110,000 people from North to Mid-Donegal will have access to radiotherapy treatments.
About 10% of these people will continue to receive more specialist treatment at centres in Belfast, Galway and Dublin.
The unit itself is envisaged, not as a single building, but as a series of interconnected clinical areas.