New service for cancer patients

Cancer patients from 1066 Country will soon no longer have to travel all the way to Brighton for vital radiotherapy treatment.

Bosses at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest Hospital and its sister site, Eastbourne DGH, have agreed to support a business case developed by Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust for the provision of radiotherapy at the DGH.

People who need radiotherapy often have to come in daily for a number of weeks. Opening a radiotherapy treatment centre in Eastbourne will make a very real, practical difference for some of our sickest patients

Dr Fiona McKinna, consultant oncologist

Currently, most cancer care for people in East Sussex is provided at the DGH or Conquest. But if a patient needs radiotherapy they have to travel to Brighton or Maidstone in Kent.

A £15 million investment will provide two Linacs (the linear accelerator machines used to deliver radiotherapy) within a modern, fully equipped radiotherapy facility at the DGH.

The radiotherapy unit will be based in the recently opened £5.7 million extension to the hospital.

It is hoped the new service will open as early as December this year.

Dr Fiona McKinna, consultant oncologist, said: “This is very exciting news for cancer care. People who need radiotherapy often have to come in daily for a number of weeks. Opening a radiotherapy treatment centre in Eastbourne will make a very real, practical difference for some of our sickest patients, dramatically reducing the time they spend travelling at this difficult time.”

Darren Grayson, chief executive of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “It is excellent news that we will be able to provide this vital service at Eastbourne District General Hospital. The development of this new unit will bring radiotherapy into East Sussex for the very first time.

“Almost half of all people with cancer have radiotherapy as part of their treatment plan and patients in our area will benefit from this state-of-the-art development, which is closer to where they live. It is also further evidence of our continued investment and part of a major series of upgrades and reconfigurations to ensure that we can deliver higher standards of care and treatment.”

Matthew Kershaw, chief executive of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Taking radiotherapy closer to people’s homes has been a long-term goal for cancer care in Sussex.”