A major drive to raise £2.9 million to bring radiotherapy treatment to the Great Western Hospital (GWH) in Swindon was launched on 28 May, supporting plans to bring cancer treatment closer to home for the 340,000 people living in the Swindon and Wiltshire area.
The appeal by Brighter Futures, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s charity, will fund two linear accelerators, which will deliver the treatment provided by Oxford University Hospitals Trust (OUH) in a new radiotherapy centre.
Currently around 3,000 people are diagnosed with some form of cancer each year at GWH. In 2013/14 around 700 patients made the 70 mile round-trip to OUH’s Churchill Hospital in Oxford for radiotherapy. Treatment usually lasts for four to seven weeks with visits required every day.
While the expansion of the OUH service is subject to a final approval process, the planning stages are well advanced and it is envisaged that treatment could be available locally by the end of 2017.
Dr Guy Rooney, Medical Director, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Bringing radiotherapy treatment to Swindon will make such a difference to local patients and their families, friends and carers and will be an excellent addition to the facilities already available at GWH.
“We are working closely with our colleagues at Oxford to make this vision a reality and I am sure that local people will get behind the fundraising appeal.”
Jen Green, Head of Fundraising, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We need everyone to get on board, whether that’s individuals who want to donate, groups of people who want to fundraise with us or local businesses looking for a fantastic charity to support.
“Many local people have been affected by cancer themselves or have friends and family who have experienced cancer and so know the difference bringing radiotherapy closer to home will make.
“The support for our breast cancer treatment appeal last year was overwhelming. I know that the people of Wiltshire will do all they can to support our new appeal and rise to this much greater challenge in terms of the amount we need to raise.
“Over the next two years there will be lots of ways to get involved including different events. I am sure participants will also come up with wild and wacky ways of generating money for this worthy appeal.”
Paul Brennan, Director of Clinical Services, Oxford University Hospitals Trust, said: “It has long been our ambition to reduce the travel time for patients from the Swindon and Wiltshire area who are receiving radiotherapy in our hospitals.
“We are proud of the excellent facilities and services that we can provide for patients at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, but we want to reduce the travel time and inconvenience for patients from outside of Oxfordshire.
“We are therefore delighted at the prospect of working with GWH to deliver our services to cancer patients in Swindon and Wiltshire from a site locally.”
Swindon MPs Justin Tomlinson and Robert Buckland have written to the Secretary of State for Health expressing their support for the campaign to provide radiotherapy treatment in the town. See their letter
Further information about the radiotherapy appeal, visit the new Brighter Futures website