Health Minister Eluned Morgan has today announced more than £86 million for new cancer treatment facilities, equipment, and software.
The investment is part of a long-term programme in southeast Wales to transform how cancer services are delivered. It marks a major milestone in transforming cancer treatment across the region and brings care closer to patients’ homes.
More than £48 million is being invested in state-of-the-art radiotherapy equipment, replacing the linear accelerator fleet located at Velindre Cancer Centre. Eight of these machines will be replaced at the centre in Whitchurch, Cardiff – and two more will be housed at a brand new radiotherapy centre at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny between now and 2025.
This will ensure radiotherapy services have reliable equipment, can provide the latest techniques, and have two additional machines to meet the growing demand for cancer treatment.
The new £38 million Radiotherapy ‘Satellite’ Centre at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny will be open by 2024 to improve access to radiotherapy for people living in the north and east of catchment area of Velindre Cancer Centre.
The combined investment will provide new and improved treatment for cancer patients, deliver safe radiotherapy services, and improve the capacity and efficiency of the service – by delivering quicker and more targeted treatment.
The investment will also provide modernised cancer treatment planning software, the associated digital hardware and building refurbishments.
Once the wider programme is completed, southeast Wales will benefit from a new Velindre Cancer Centre, an additional Radiotherapy Satellite Centre, a new fleet of radiotherapy machines, and the latest software to plan and deliver radiotherapy.
This work is progressing in line with the development of the wider networked clinical model of non-surgical cancer care, which includes the development of integrated acute oncology services at district general hospitals throughout the region.
Visiting the Velindre Cancer Centre, Minister for Health and Social Services said:
The opening of a satellite radiotherapy centre in southeast Wales and our recapitalisation of radiotherapy equipment demonstrates our commitment to making significant investments in improving cancer services and outcomes in Wales.
The new satellite model will improve access to radiotherapy, servicing many of our most socio-economically disadvantaged communities along the heads of the valleys and northern Gwent.
This builds on recent investments in the development of the new Velindre Cancer Centre and similar investments in radiotherapy, treatment planning and diagnostic equipment in our southwest and north Wales cancer treatment centres.
This is part of our longer-term approach of ensuring people are able to access recommended radiotherapy techniques within cancer waiting time targets and professional access standards.
Chief Executive of Velindre University NHS Trust Steve Ham said:
Our new fleet of radiotherapy machines will be among the best in Europe and will deliver state-of-the-art treatment to cancer patients in South-East Wales and beyond. We are grateful to the Welsh Government for their investment and look forward to working with our partners to build better cancer services for generations to come. Our staff and patients are at the heart of our service development and we are extremely grateful for the dedication they continue to demonstrate to improving patient outcomes whilst delivering first-class care today.
Alongside the development of the new Velindre Cancer Centre, this will allow us to keep pace with increasing demand as the number of people referred to us with cancer grows every year.
Nicola Prygodzicz, Chief Executive of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said:
We’re delighted that this fantastic new facility has been approved and we are looking forward to seeing it take shape. It’s a really exciting new development for the Nevill Hall Hospital site, which will bring specialist cancer services closer to home for the residents of Gwent.
Laurent Amiel, President, Radiation Oncology Solutions Europe Middle East Africa (EMEA) at Varian, said:
Varian is proud to collaborate with global leaders and governments as we work to extend our patient reach and advance our mission to create a world without fear of cancer. We look forward to this opportunity to expand access to advanced cancer care to patients across south Wales.