North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS FT’s (NCIC) Cumberland Infirmary opened a new cancer centre and welcomed their first patients this week.
The Northern Centre for Cancer Care, North Cumbria (NCCC) is a partnership between Newcastle Hospitals and NCIC. It aims to bring all non-surgical cancer services together in the same building for the first time.
It follows on from two years’ worth of work, involving an investment of £35m in north Cumbria to improve health outcomes for the local population.
One of the benefits of this is that patients who need to access cancer services in north Cumbria, will no longer have to travel to different parts of the Infirmary for treatment.
Only patients with rare cancers, those requiring very specialist radiotherapy and children and young people with cancer, will continue to be referred to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
Kiyla Murray, Matron for chemotherapy services at Newcastle Hospitals, said: “It’s been really lovely to welcome our first patients this week, this is such an important development for them.
“They’ve all been so impressed so far and it’s great that we’re able to offer our patients all of these services within the new centre and reducing the need for them to travel quite so far to receive their treatment.”
The new centre is already expected to be busy, with around 2,000 patients estimated to receive treatment or follow-up care, and approximately 1,200 new referrals each year.
This also includes the delivery of approximately 11,500 radiotherapy treatments and 8,000 chemotherapy treatments, as well as 4,000 supportive therapy treatments, a year.
NCIC will manage the building and services, while Newcastle Hospitals run the centre, as part of the NCCC partnership. Around 80 non-surgical oncology staff members joined the Newcastle team in April.
Porters, housekeepers, and estates and facilities staff from NCIC - who will manage the maintenance of the building - will help support the operation of the facility. The centre will be regarded as one of the biggest combined cancer treatment services in the country.
Dame Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive at Newcastle Hospitals, said: “We’re delighted to have welcomed our first patients at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, North Cumbria.
“The centre looks fantastic, and all of the teams involved have worked incredibly hard to make sure this is a calm and comfortable environment for our patients.
“The development of the centre demonstrates our commitment to providing high quality and sustainable cancer services to people across north Cumbria and supporting patients to receive care closer to home.”
Lyn Simpson, Chief Executive at NCIC, said: “I know many people have closely watched the progress of the centre since construction began and it is excellent to see the building now complete and welcoming patients. The opening of the centre in partnership with Newcastle Hospitals is a real milestone in our journey to improve cancer services for patients across north Cumbria.”