FINANCE: A West Midlands acute trust is hoping to generate £5.9m in extra income per year following the opening of a new £23m cancer treatment unit this month.

Patients from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust have historically travelled to Coventry, Wolverhampton, Cheltenham and Birmingham for radiotherapy treatment but the trust is set to open its new oncology unit on 26 January after 18 months of construction.

CT scanner

The centre will have a dedicated CT scanner

The trust believes the new unit at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, developed as part of a strategic partnership with University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust, will prevent an estimated 1,500 patients travelling outside the county. In total, it expects 90 per cent of trust patients needing radiotherapy could stay in the area for the first time.

In 2013-14 the trust ended the year with a deficit of £14.2m and is forecasting a deficit for 2014-15 of £15m.

A business case has also been approved to move chemotherapy services from elsewhere on the hospital site to the new unit during the next 12 months.

This will also increase the number of chemotherapy patients treated in the county from 75 per cent to 95 per cent.

The unit will have eight consultant oncologists, with seven already appointed, 22 clinical physics staff and 30 radiotherapy and associated nursing and admin staff.

Operating with three linear accelerators and capacity for a fourth, the centre also has a simulation suite and a dedicated CT scanner.

Adel Makar, lead cancer clinician of the trust, said: “This is fantastic news as it will bring cancer services together into one state of the art facility. This will bring the cancer teams together and will undoubtedly improve patient pathways and patient experience. It will also create additional capacity to cater for the growing demand for these services.”