Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin is essential


The Chairman of the Western Trust has said the development and operation of a Satellite Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin Hospital is “absolutely essential”.


Gerard Guckian was commenting on news that the Radiotherapy Unit could be built at Altnagelvin but major challenges could be faced in finding funding to open and run the facility.


Mr Guckian said: “I don’t doubt Minister McGimpsey’s, the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety’s and the Health and Social Care Board’s commitment to the project. Indeed, we would share their disappointment if it were not to proceed and additional revenue funding was not secured.


“This Radiotherapy Unit is not just important for the people of the North-West and the West of the Province, it’s absolutely essential and it is the right thing to do in creating the necessary future capacity for the whole of Northern Ireland.


“Most importantly this would provide a vital service to the most vulnerable patients who currently have to travel to Belfast for radiotherapy treatment. It was heartening to see the cross-party support for this project from the various political representatives at the Health Committee in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The unique cross-border nature of the project with the potential to provide for patients from Donegal and the support from the Dublin Government is also an opportunity that should not be missed.


“The benefit for patients is central to this facility but there are also significant potential positive aspects for the region. The development of the facility at Altnagelvin could bring up to 260 new jobs including specialist medical, nursing and other health professionals.


“We must acknowledge the difficulties with the budget. There is simply not enough money to provide the required services and the allocation for health and social care provision is well short of what is needed.


“The Western Trust remains passionately committed to the Radiotherapy Unit being built and opened within the timescale identified. The Trust will be making its views known through the consultation and would encourage members of the public to respond to the consultation also.”