Wiltshire

Swindon radiotherapy unit to open after government loan

An artists' impression of the new unit at Great Western Hospital Image copyright Great Western Hospital
Image caption Nearly £3m was raised by the Brighter Futures Charity towards the cost of the new unit

A new radiotherapy centre in Swindon will be built thanks to a loan from the government.

The £18.4 million Satellite Radiotherapy Unit will be based at the town's Great Western Hospital and was first proposed in 2009.

Hundreds of cancer patients currently have a 70-mile round trip to Oxford's Churchill Hospital for treatment.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) said it hoped work would start by spring next year.

The Department of Health and Social Care will offer a loan to OUH to allow the unit to go ahead.

The total cost includes £2.9 million raised by the Brighter Futures Charity, which will buy specialist equipment.

'Very grateful'

Jason Dorsett from OUH said: "I am so pleased that at last we have been able to sort out the finances to make this much-wanted project a reality.

"I am very grateful to the people of Swindon and beyond for their patience and their generosity.

"We are now focused on getting everything in place to start work on site, which we hope to be able to do by spring next year."

Swindon and Wiltshire are among the few areas in England where cancer patients have to travel more than 45 minutes for radiotherapy.

About 700 patients a year from the area make the trip to Oxford for each treatment.

Most of these patients will now be able to have their radiotherapy treatment at the new unit.

Dr Claire Hobbs, head of radiotherapy at OUH, said she was "very grateful" for the funding model that will "allow us to go ahead with our dream of bringing radiotherapy services closer to people's homes".

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