Fundraisers get first look at new radiotherapy unit

Basingstoke Gazette: Staff at the radiotherapy unit with the new linear accelerator machine Staff at the radiotherapy unit with the new linear accelerator machine

FUNDRAISERS who have helped create an interim radiotherapy unit at Basingstoke hospital have been given an exclusive tour around the building.

Members of the North Hampshire Medical Fund and RadCan charities were invited to have the first look at the new £5million building after raising vital funds to secure medical equipment for the unit.

As previously reported in The Gazette, the radiotherapy unit will be open at the hospital, in Aldermaston Road, for two years while a new cancer centre is being built in a North Hampshire location yet to be confirmed.

The unit is made up of state-of-the-art equipment, including a £2million linear accelerator – the machine used to deliver radiotherapy treatment – a £450,000 CT scanner, which was provided through funds from both charities, and a range of other facilities including, changing rooms, a welcoming waiting area and a scenic outdoor garden.

The specialist radiotherapy equipment in the interim unit, which will primarily treat patients suffering from breast, lung and prostate cancers, will be transferred to the new cancer centre when it opens in 2016.

The building, which is opposite The Ark Conference Centre, will still be used by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Lara Alloway, clinical director of cancer services at the hospital said: “It is fantastic. Without them, we wouldn’t have a CT scanner so people would have to travel to Southampton or Guildford so we are incredibly grateful. It is a fantastic facility and it is nice and spacious.”

Tricia Monro, fundraising manager at the North Hampshire Medical Fund told The Gazette: “It is so important for people to feel comfortable and at ease and it is a very welcoming place. It is so quiet and spacious and it provides a feel good factor. It is the largest appeal we have ever run and we were delighted that it succeeded.

“It (the CT scanner) targets the cancer and enables the cancer to be targeted with pin point accuracy so there is limited damage to the healthy tissue.”

Before the opening of the interim radiotherapy unit, patients, who have to be treated for six weeks, had to travel to centres in Southampton or Guildford.

The unit is expected to treat 500 patients per year and will be officially opened by TV personality and sports presenter, Claire Balding OBE next Tuesday.

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