Whilst this morning on the news we learned of a new cancer blood test about to be trialled in several areas of the country, this afternoon we heard about the new OUH (Oxford University Hospital) Swindon Radiotherapy Centre, at Swindon’s Greater Western Hospital being ‘topped out’ so that it can start treating patients early next year.
Whilst the ‘Galleri’ cancer blood test – albeit some way off yet – is planned to identify many different cancers at a very early stage, the new Radiotherapy Centre at GWH will mean that treatment for patients living in this area will be much nearer, accessible, and available.
Dr Claire Hobbs, former Head of Radiotherapy at OUH and representing the service, said: “I was here for the ground-breaking in October 2020, and it has been wonderful to see the Centre take shape.
“The OUH Swindon Radiotherapy Centre is all about providing patients and their families a service closer to home that will not only enhance their care, but also reduce travel time and anxiety. I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you again to all the generous people and organisations that have made all this possible.”
OUH has invested £18.4m in this project, with a further £2.9m being raised and donated locally through the Brighter Futures Radiotherapy Appeal.
This area has been crying out for a centre such as this, and it’s estimated that once open and operational the presence of this centre will save more than 13,000 journeys to Oxford every year, alleviating much of the anxiety, stress and time of patients.
Senior figures from Oxford University Hospitals, Great Western Hospitals (GWH), Brighter Futures, and construction company John Sisk & Son Ltd met on-site for the ceremonial event to mark the structural completion of the building.
Kevin McNamara, Chief Executive at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Over the past few months we’ve seen the Radiotherapy Centre really begin to take shape on our site and it’s great to reach this significant milestone in an ambitious project that will make a real difference to Swindon.
“This isn’t just a development in a building programme, it’s a really big step forward in bringing radiotherapy to Swindon and giving patients the great care they deserve much closer to home.”
Lisa Utting, Fundraising and Volunteering Team Manager at Brighter Futures, said: “It really does feel amazing to have been part of the Radiotherapy fundraising appeal from the start of this journey in May 2015 and to see the roof be installed is just fantastic, it makes me feel so proud of what we have achieved as a team.
Ajaz Shafi, Managing Director, UK South, of the Constructors, John Sisk & Son, said: “This is a significant milestone in the progress of the OUH Swindon Radiotherapy Centre. I am incredibly proud of the teams involved for the excellent work that’s been completed so far, which will benefit so many patients and their families while they undergo treatment.
So next year the trips to Oxford for Radiotherapy for Cancer patients will start to come down with visits being made to this new centre instead, but even further into the future if the trials of the new test are successful, treatment will begin at an even earlier stage, so the number of patients treated in the new Centre funded by OUH and Brighter Futures will be greater than before, and hopefully more successful for us all.