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Official opening of the new Radiotherapy Centre at Mount Vernon PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 10 June 2009 20:19

Monday 7th April 2008 was a very special day in the history of Mount Vernon, the day when the National Cancer Director, Professor Mike Richards, came to perform the opening ceremony in the presence of a largely NHS audience – but we were there too, represented by James Kincaid, Vice Chairman, and Donald Edwards, our Publicity Officer, who was glued to his camera throughout the event.

All the top brass from East & North Herts Hospitals NHS Trust were there, taking pride that they currently run the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre. Their Chairman, Richard Beazley, expressed much regret at the collapse of the proposal to move the Cancer Centre to Hatfield – in contrast of course to our own delight at that collapse! However we rejoice with him in the excellent new facilities at Mount Vernon. Later this year we hope that the Herts. Cancer Review will confirm that those facilities are secure on their present site, at least for the next few years.

Dr. Peter Ostler, Clinical Director at the Cancer Centre, spoke about the amazing new technology which makes the radiotherapy bunkers removable, originally to allow them to be moved to Hatfield. This installation comprised five bunkers, complete with linear accelerators already in place - a world first achievement.
Professor Mike Richards, the Cancer Czar, noted that this important radiotherapy centre is one of the largest in the country, with many clinicians, radiotherapists, physicists and 140 nurses on its staff. The recent face-lift cost £22 million. When pressed on future plans, he indicated that satellite working might be set up from the Cancer Centre, to make local services available to more people.

He noted that in cancer survival rates the UK lags behind its European neighbours, which he attributed mainly to late diagnosis. Earlier identification is the key factor, needing more patient awareness, more primary care and more radiotherapy services. Staff shortages were a bottle-neck a few years ago, but rapid progress since 2000 has produced around 40% more radiotherapists and clinical oncologists. Better data collection is also vital, so that comparisons between hospitals can become possible. Also, we spend more on in-patient cancer care than other countries, so in future we will be exploring how to treat more patients through ambulatory care.
It was a very happy occasions and smiles were abundant – as Donald’s wonderful pictures and DVD show. I was very sorry that I could not be there myself.

Joan & Donald

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written by R4 Card, July 26, 2010
I appreciate your bright ideas in this article. Great work!
R4 Card

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