STRUCTURE: Regional health chiefs have approved the Outline Business Case for Worcestershire’s first ever radiotherapy centre.

The decision, taken by NHS Midlands and East at its board meeting last week, marks another hurdle cleared on the path to opening the centre in 2014.

The centre, which will be based at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, will provide radiotherapy treatment for county cancer patients and mean that they will no longer face long journeys out of the county for their care. It is estimated it will save patients around one million miles of travel every year.

The OBC also includes plans for a 401-space car park on land adjacent to the hospital site, which will increase the number of spaces for patients, visitors and staff to 1,470.

Other elements of the Worcestershire Oncology Project are also progressing. Three broad options for increasing capacity of chemotherapy services and providing services closer to home are currently being developed.

These are exploring the potential for chemotherapy services in community hospitals, GP health centres, hospices and in patients’ home as well as at the county’s three main hospital sites. Patients and GPs have been involved in this work and a formal appraisal process is expected early this year.