Local people share their views on plans for a new cancer centre in Liverpool.
The future of cancer care in the region is set to change from 2018 with proposals to build a brand new Clatterbridge Cancer Centre next to the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital and the University of Liverpool.
With the number of cancer cases in Merseyside and Cheshire still significantly higher than the national average, health chiefs in the region are making plans to improve the high quality services already on offer.
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is one of the largest networked cancer centres in the country, with its main site in Wirral, satellite radiotherapy centre on the Aintree Hospital site and a network of eight clinics across Merseyside and Cheshire.
This new cancer centre, which will offer integrated cancer care right from diagnosis through to discharge, will be the single biggest step towards developing first class services for the region, benefitting people in Wirral, West Cheshire and North of the Mersey.
The Echo has joined forces with the Action on Cancer campaign to keep local residents up to date over the coming months with the latest cancer-related news and plans to improve services.
What are the proposals?
Inpatient services will move from The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre Wirral site to the new Liverpool site.
The Wirral site will still offer the same radiotherapy and chemotherapy outpatient services for patients with common cancers such as breast or prostate.
The satellite radiotherapy facility on the Aintree Hospital site will continue to provide existing outpatient radiotherapy services and The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre will continue to provide outpatient chemotherapy clinics in hospitals across the region.
Only patients who require more complex treatments, or an overnight stay, will travel to the new centre in Liverpool for their specialist care.
Here, The Echo speaks to health champions in the region to see what their thoughts are on the new proposals for extending and moving cancer services for patients in Merseyside and Cheshire.
David Turner, 59 from Wirral
“I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2011. I had radiotherapy treatment at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Wirral, and also required surgery at The Royal.
“Like some of my friends and neighbours in Wirral, I did have some reservations about some cancer services moving from my local area to Liverpool city centre. However, the more that I have learnt about the proposed plans, the more strongly I feel that we should not miss this opportunity to ensure the excellent services on offer in the region are accessible to as many people as possible.
“I had to travel between The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and the Royal for my appointments, both of which are about 7 or 8 miles from where I live. It would have made the process easier if I could have been based with one integrated team at one location.
“As a patient I would reassured that if there was an emergency, there would be quicker access to a range of specialist services and emergency support on the same site. I know this would put my family’s mind at rest too.”
Dr Edward Gaynor, Liverpool-based GP and clinical lead on cancer for Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group
“I think this is an exciting, obvious and sensible development in the future of cancer care for Cheshire and Merseyside. Combining the expertise available at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre with wider clinical facilities such as the intensive care unit at The Royal Liverpool University Hospital will make for unrivalled, cancer care for our residents. We must also not underestimate the importance of research within cancer treatment and development too. Cancer care is very much a team effort from a number of specialists including those in research, so being on the same site as the university will help to advance our care significantly.
“Overall, we are moving to a service which is much more comprehensive and will meet the complex needs of our cancer patients across Cheshire and Merseyside.”
Dr Nicky Thorp, Associate Medical Director, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre
“These plans have been carefully developed to ensure we are enhancing a great cancer centre. It is about how we take this to the next level and the future benefits that brings to the local population across Merseyside and Cheshire.
“We would not be doing this if we did not feel our patients were going to benefit. This is an amazing opportunity for thousands of people from North Mersey, Wirral and West Cheshire to get greater access to the majority of services closer to where they live. The changes will improve the care on offer and the experience for patients will be even better. Patients who require more complex treatment will be supported by a more joined-up team and won’t have to travel to different sites for treatment and appointments.”
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre has been working closely with people in the region over the last few months to get their feedback on the proposals and this information will be used to help shape more detailed plans about the development of cancer services to benefit cancer patients in Cheshire and Merseyside.