• Northumbria Healthcare FT to outsource treatment for between 120 and 150 patients a year to private sector
  • Rutherford Cancer Centre’s facility in the North East to receive the work

A foundation trust is outsourcing more than 100 patients to a private facility for chemotherapy.

Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust has signed a contract to transfer between 120 and 150 patients to Rutherford Cancer Centre’s facility in the North East.

The treatment, which is commissioned by NHS England, is between the trust and the company, which also offers proton beam therapy at several of its facilities.

The contract, which is reviewed annually, was signed after a trial in March 2019.

In January a report to the £528m-turnover trust’s board said: “Due to the advancement in treatment now available, the demand on oncology day units to provide timely treatment [has increased].”

Trust chief executive Sir Jim Mackey said: “This partnership will provide tremendous benefits for cancer patients across the region and is part of our on-going commitment to provide outstanding care to everyone who needs it – complementing the services we already provide from Northumbria.

“No one wants to wait for treatment, especially when they have been diagnosed with cancer - it can be an anxious time for patients and their loved ones. Working with the Rutherford Cancer Centre will ensure our patients get timely access and state-of-the-art treatment.”

The trust and the company, which is owned by Proton Partners International, have already “collaborated” on the hiring of a band six nurse post to work in the service.

The company’s chief executive Mike Moran said in a statement: “It is hugely encouraging to see the private and public sectors working collaboratively to improve outcomes for cancer patients in the North East.”

Rutherford said the centre could treat between 750 and 1,000 chemotherapy patients a year, with NHS-funded patients accounting for 20-25 per cent of them.