CLATTERBRIDGE Oncology Centre chiefs have explained their decision to relocate to Liverpool.
They said the move has to be made to ensure cancer care reaches “world leading” standards
Wirral patients have been reassured that radiotherapy and chemotherapy services will remain at the current site.
But all inpatient beds would move to the planned new Royal Liverpool Hospital.
Associate medical director Dr Nicky Thorp said: “We need to aspire to being a world leader, but we cannot do that from this site.”
She said the centre needs to be integrated with other hospital services like intensive care and also be close to the university.
She said: “The most important change is for certain treatments you need access to Intensive Treatment Unit services or acute doctors in orthopedic.
“At the moment out here we do not have access, so if patients become very poorly they have to take an ambulance to Arrowe Park.
“Also, as the population gets older and cancer increases we want to be able to give our patients fairly aggressive cancer treatments if that is what they want.
“We do not want to be in a position to say actually it is going to be difficult because we don’t have direct access to other services.”
The consultant oncologist also spoke of the advantage of the Royal being next to Liverpool University. She said: “We need to have the assistance of researchers in different disciplines from the university and we need to be working very closely with them.
“If we can then start to demonstrate to the rest of the world that we are leading in research then we start to attract the best possible people from around the world.”
Yvonne Bottomley, Clatterbridge finance director, said the current location is no longer central for the population it serves:
She added: “Seventy three per cent of patients are north of the Mersey and the majority travel in excess of 30 minutes.
“The new site would reduce this to the majority travelling less than 30 minutes.”
Ms Thorp said: “I feel our patients will either see no change or an improvement. We would not be doing this if we did not feel our patients were going to benefit.”
The outline business case for the relocation should be completed by next summer. If all is successful it is hoped the centre would open in 2017/18.
MP for Wirral South Alison McGovern said: “At this early stage there are a lot of questions still to be answered and I am pleased to see that the board are committed to much further public consultation before a final agreement is reached.
“If and when any expansion of services is agreed it is envisaged that Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology will continue to deliver chemotherapy, radiotherapy and outpatient services.
“I would be pleased to hear from any of my constituents who wish to communicate their views on this matter.”