June 20, 2008
Cancer Care Hopes in Heart of the City
By HELEN HUNT; NICK COLIGAN
MEDICS want to create a world class cancer treatment centre in the heart of Liverpool.
The proposal is still at an early stage and hinges on a wide ranging review of cancer services due in the autumn.
But top doctors believe a change to the current set-up, in which thousands of Liverpool cancer patients have to travel to Bebington's Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology to be treated, is vital for the future.
The cancer death rates in Liverpool are one-third higher than the UK average, with the city and Knowsley recording greater mortality rates than the rest of Merseyside. The cancer death rate in Liverpool is 46% higher than that in London.
The planned rebuilding of the Royal next to its current city centre premises offers an opportunity to establish a world-class treatment and research centre, similar to Manchester's Christies, in the immediate future.
The Royal is already home to the Linda McCartney Centre, where breast cancer patients are assessed and treated.
Earlier this year, the NHS agreed to invest pounds 30m in new radiotherapy services in Liverpool, which Clatterbridge hope to spend on new facilities at the Royal and Fazakerley hospital.
The ECHO understands the proposals for a world class cancer treatment centre would enhance services at Clatterbridge, which is one of the country's largest cancer centres.
Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Network (MCCN) is carrying out a review of services across the region, and city leaders have already been briefed on current issues.
An MCCN spokesman said: "In an effort to develop world-class cancer services, the NHS in Merseyside and Cheshire is in the very early stages of reviewing how and where patients who require chemotherapy and radiotherapy might receive their treatment in the future.
"The recommendations from the review will be presented to the MCCN in the autumn.
"Any proposed improvements following the review would, of course, be subject to full and thorough public consultation in due course."
Council leader Warren Bradley said: "We have hard evidence that Liverpool unfortunately does have a very high number of cancer deaths and we want to do all we can to not only make people aware, but bring about extra prevention to reduce the number of deaths.
"I welcome anything that can do that and the council will do what it can to work alongside this review."
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