Tuesday, April 16, 2024

New £8.7 million building boosting cancer care taking shape

PREPARATIONS have begun for the new £8.7million Radiotherapy Unit extension and equipment at Southend Hospital, with specialist blocks starting to be craned into place.

The two-metre-wide concrete blocks, which will take four weeks to position, are designed to stop any radiation penetrating the walls, shielding anyone outside from radiation waves and particles, and are only manufactured by two companies in the world.

Nicky Whilde, Head of Radiotherapy Physics for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The £5million extension is expected to be completed this summer and open to patients in the autumn, it will be home to a new £3.7million linear accelerator (LINAC) machine, which uses beams of high energy X-rays or electrons to destroy cancer cells while reducing damage to surrounding organs and healthy tissue, meaning patients are less likely to have long-term side effects because of their treatment.”

The LINAC, which can be used for the majority of cancers, will treat patients from across mid and south Essex and its new building allows the Radiotherapy Unit to have its own entrance and reception area, so those having radiotherapy will no longer need to walk through the hospital to get to their appointment. This minimises the contact they have with other patients and visitors.

It also allows for the waiting room to be made larger and two dedicated side rooms will be created where patients can discuss their treatment with their medical team. All of which makes for a better experience for patients.

The Trust has funded the programme as part of the planned capital and equipment replacement scheme for radiotherapy and will join the other three LINACs already in use at Southend Hospital.

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