THE top boss of Wirral’s world-class cancer centre has said patients services are not being cut – despite inpatient beds moving to Liverpool.
Meanwhile, the plans to create a new Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Liverpool received cross-party support from Wirral Council’s health scrutiny committee’s on Monday night.
All 71 inpatient beds are moving to the city centre under plans which will see Clatterbridge set up a second site close to the new Royal Liverpool Hospital and Biocampus being built within what is being branded the “knowledge quarter” of the city.
But councillors agree with hospital chiefs that the move will not see a reduction in services and will in fact open up a new opportunity to provide the best treatments to patients by having its new hub not on the Clatterbridge site in Bebington, but in Liverpool alongside research and other “life science” developments.
Already patients have to go to elsewhere for cancer surgery. Under the plans Clatterbridge in Bebington will continue its work and continue to invest in its existing radiotherapy and chemotherapy services on site.
Clatterbridge chief executive Andrew Cannell said the majority of Wirral cancer patients will not see a change in service.
Only patients who require complex treatment will have to go to Liverpool.
He said: “Proposals are currently being developed which would see the services currently provided by The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre expanded with the building of an additional new centre next to the new Royal Liverpooland the University of Liverpool.
“This proposal is not about closing or reducing the services currently provided by The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. We deliver the majority of our treatment as an outpatient service so for most of our Wirral patients the services they receive will remain unaffected by the proposals.”
It is argued that having a Clatterbridge in Liverpool will bring it closer to even more patients across Merseyside and Cheshire.
Chair of Wirral’s health and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee Simon Mountney said: “As far as Wirral is concerned if you require major intervention for serious cancers you will need to go to Liverpool. The majority of cancers will be treated locally.
“We needed to change the level of provision for cancer services on Wirral, it wasn’t acceptable, and over time it’s been seen that a hub next to a major hospital that can provide intensive services is critical and that the move is required. And fortunately that move will only affect a minority of patients with very severe cancers on Wirral.”
Committee member Cllr Moira McLaughlin who trained as a nurse on the Clatterbridge site in her career said that Clatterbridge had put a strong clinical case forward for the move which did not represent a reduction of service for Wirral patients.