30 March 2017

Specialist equipment arrives at new radiotherapy centre

Linear accelerator machine

Two linear accelerator machines for treating cancer, each the size of a small family car have arrived on site at the new Radiotherapy Centre at Eastbourne DGH. Each machine costs around £2million and weighs three tonnes. Specialist Physicists will begin the complex task of installing, calibrating and testing the machines.

The linear accelerator machines will be used to treat hundreds of cancer patients each year. They enable cancer tumours to be targeted with pinpoint accuracy by X-ray beams, using intensity modulated radiotherapy. These specialist machines are the centre piece of a new £15 million Radiotherapy Centre at Eastbourne DGH currently under construction and due treat its first patients later this summer.

When completed the new radiotherapy centre will significantly reduce the need for cancer patients to travel outside East Sussex for vital radiotherapy treatment. Currently, patients who live in East Sussex have to travel to Brighton or Maidstone in Kent for radiotherapy treatment.

The £15 million investment, funded by Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, will provide two linear accelerator machines used to deliver radiotherapy within a modern, fully equipped radiotherapy facility at Eastbourne DGH. The service will be a satellite unit of the radiotherapy centre operated by the Sussex Cancer Centre from Brighton. The Friends of Eastbourne Hospital are also raising £386,000 to support the new unit.

Dr Fiona McKinna, Consultant Oncologist said: “The arrival of the two linear accelerators machines marks real progress in the building of this new radiotherapy centre. Most importantly, it brings closer the time when we will be able to make a very real and practical difference to local cancer patients, dramatically reducing the time they spend travelling for this vital treatment.”

Dr Adrian Bull, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Chief Executive said: “When operational these new machines will deliver high quality cancer treatment for local residents. Patients will soon be able to benefit from more convenient access to radiotherapy treatment for the first time.”

Evelyn Barker, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust Chief Executive, said: “The arrival of the two linear accelerator machines is an exciting next step in the journey of improving local cancer care and enabling patients in Eastbourne and surrounding areas to be treated closer to home. The £15 million Radiotherapy Centre will see services delivered within a state-of-the-art, fully equipped facility. People who need radiotherapy often have to come in daily for a number of weeks, so opening a radiotherapy treatment centre in Eastbourne will make real improvements for some of our sickest patients and significantly reduce their journey time to appointments.”