Future of cancer centre in jeopardy without essential funding
Adam Shaw, Local Democracy Reporter
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A troubled cancer centre which caters to people in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire needs almost £300 million so it can continue to treat patients.
Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, in Rickmansworth Road in Northwood, is relying on £272 million to fund a transfer to Watford General Hospital.
The centre, which is run by East and North Herts NHS Trust serves a catchment area of almost two million people, with over 5,000 new patients registered each year.
There are over 500 members of staff, including consultants who specialise in one or two particular cancers, doctors who support the consultants' clinical work, nurses, radiographers, physicists, administrative staff and engineers.
NHS bosses said in July that the search for the missing £300 million continues to be “challenging” but is “critical” for the future of the centre.
They now intend to bid for government support under a new health plan that will aid eight new schemes across England.
The plan described this as “a fantastic opportunity” to secure funding but recognised “there will be many other schemes across the country thinking the same thing”.
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Early submissions will be accepted in September and the trust expects a final decision to be made in Spring 2022.
Mount Vernon serves patients from North West London, but also those in Hertfordshire and from as far away as Bedford.
Independent advisors found the buildings at the site are in a bad state, staff cannot always carry out the care and treatment they would like, and patient care is sometimes split across hospitals.
The NHS explained changes were necessary for services to continue and, earlier this year, proposed a transfer to a new specialist site at Watford General.
This would be supported by additional services at other hospital sites, including Northwick Park Hospital, which would expand its chemotherapy department.
Suggestions services would be moved to a Central London site were knocked back by the NHS in January.
The future of the current Mount Vernon site is yet to be established, with suggestions it could be used as a community meeting place for cancer patients put forward as one option.