The new cross-border radiotherapy unit for the north west is to open within weeks, the ‘Journal’ understands.
It is believed that the first patients will also begin their treatment at the new Altnagelvin Hospital facility within weeks, with a phased introduction of services expected.
When fully operational, the £66.1 million facility will treat, per year, around 1,500 cancer patients from across Derry, Limavady, Inishowen and across the wider western region.
In the future, for thousands of people living with cancer on both sides of the border, this will mean an end to gruelling journeys to Belfast, Galway or Dublin for treatment.
A spokesperson for the Western Trust said last night that construction and associated works were “progressing well”.
She said: “Handover of the internal aspect of the building was completed on 14 September 2016 in order to allow occupation of a number of critical areas and office space. The remainder of the site, primarily the external areas, is planned for handover within the next week.
“Advanced recruitment of staff across a range of key disciplines is also progressing well.
“The majority of staff that will work in the centre have been recruited or are awaiting to take up their new post.”
She added: “Detailed work continues in all of the project subgroups to progress plans for IT systems connections and interfaces, as well as patient pathways and service implementation planning in order to achieve commencement of services by the end of November 2016.”
Cancer survivors and grass roots organisations, backed by cross-party local politicians, have been instrumental in ensuring the plans for the centre have been realised.