Altnagelvin’s £66m cross-border Radiotherapy Centre will welcome its first patients for treatment next week.
Staff are now poised to begin the treatment of prostate cancer patients, with plans to treat other cancer patients on a phased basis until the North West Cancer Centre becomes fully operational by next summer.
The landmark development comes after a decade of planning and a massive campaign for local cancer services spearheaded by survivors from Derry, Donegal and Limavady, alongside local community groups, health professionals and politicians.
It has now been confirmed that the state of the art centre will facilitate the radiotherapy treatment of 1,100 new patients from the North every year, meaning people will no longer have to travel to and from, or stay in, Belfast for treatment.
A further 400 new cancer patients from Donegal will be treated annually at the centre, eradicating the need for gruelling trips to Galway or Dublin.
Derry native, Dr. David Stewart, Lead Clinical Oncologist at the North West Cancer Centre, is among many leading health professionals from the north west who have returned home to work at the centre.
Mr. Stewart, who has been among those at the helm of developing the centre since early 2011, said: “It’s a very proud moment to be standing here in a centre which is really second to none.
“We have achieved what we set out to do in terms of developing a business case that would be fit for now and also the future.
“It has cross-community support, cross-border support and cancer doesn’t care what community or what side of the border you are from.
“This is something people have been waiting for this last few years and everybody has done their best to ensure it happened on time.”