Radiotherapy access could improve for Swindon patients

A new radiotherapy unit could be built in Swindon to save cancer patients from making a 70-mile round trip to Oxford Radcliffe Hospital for treatment.

NHS Swindon is exploring the issue and is about to put out a tender for the unit, which would cost between £10-15m.

If it is built there would also be extra costs in paying a provider to deliver the service.

Over the past two years, 749 patients received treatment at a cost of £1.4m a year which is the national average.

Jan Stubbings, chief executive at NHS Swindon, said: "It's extremely important to us the journey for treatment for any patient is provided with as little stress and hassle as possible during such difficult times."

'Horrendous journey'

Sharon Henry was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago and had to travel five times a week to Oxford over a period of five weeks.

"What we need is some support to make sure we've got local centres so we can get the best possible treatment without having to face that horrendous journey."

If built, the unit might still not meet the needs of every cancer patient so travelling outside the county for treatment will remain a possibility.

"Technology is evolving and as the population is getting older we are experiencing more people coming forward for cancer treatment, so until recently the needs of our local community have not required a radiotherapy service in Swindon," said Mrs Stubbings.

Over the next few weeks the NHS will begin the tender process asking for potential providers to come forward with a business plan.

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