The future success of a Wirral cancer hospital depends on the creation of a new £110m site in Liverpool, according to its boss.
Andrew Cannell from The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust said they want to lead the race when it comes to cancer care and without setting up a new site in Liverpool the hospital, based in Bebington, would “stagnate”.
Mr Cannell said the new build was essential to their future growth. But he gave a cast iron guarantee to Wirral patients that services would still remain there.
A review of what will be kept on the Wirral site still has to take place. But Mr Cannell guaranteed services would be there saying their world-class proton therapy unit is likely to stay in addition to outpatient services.
Only patients who require complex treatment will have to go to Liverpool.
Andrew Cannell, chief executive of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre
He said: “There’s quite a significant amount of investment on this site [Wirral]. Why would we want to knock stuff down and then rebuild it [in Liverpool] to deliver a service where patients are going to have to travel when they don’t need to? It’s counter-intuitive. We are very proud of the facility here in Wirral,admittedly it will be smaller, we won’t have inpatient beds here, there will be fewer treatment machines. But it is a cherished institution.”
Because cancer is associated with age and people are living longer, when patients visit Clatterbridge for cancer care they increasingly have other medical problems that need treating as well.
This interrupts their care as patients reluctantly have to move out of Clatterbridge into an acute hospital. A formal review of this dilemma found the Royal Liverpool was the best hospital to support Clatterbridge’s work.
As a result, the trust’s plan is to put their main hub in Liverpool, next to the new Royal with a link bridge joining the two sites so patients can travel down a corridor rather than having to be transferred to another hospital – speeding up treatment time.
Being close to the university would also allow closer working between academics and clinicians, driving forward new cancer treatments. Mr Cannell said: “Without the move we’d stagnate. The world has changed around Clatterbridge.
What we are trying to do is get ahead of the curve.” The trust expects to produce an outline business case by spring. Building could start in 2016.