The Northern Centre for Cancer Care (NCCC) in Carlisle has commenced offering a stereotactic ablative radiotherapy treatment (SABR) service. This follows a collaboration between North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which operates the radiotherapy centre at Carlisle.
Although access to SABR for patients in north Cumbria had been provided at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle for several years, bringing this service to Carlisle is an important development for the local population.
Head of radiotherapy physics Chris Walker said: “This is another milestone achieved by the NCCC team at Carlisle on its way towards full alignment with the treatments provided at Newcastle. It allows patients to be treated closer to their home, adds service resilience, improves staff morale, helps with recruitment and retention and allows for seamless operations between the two centres with the local teams acting as one.”
NCCC’s radiotherapy physics, therapeutic radiographer and clinical oncology teams worked closely with each other to commission SABR and ensure a safe patient service. Initially it will benefit patients with early stage lung cancer, before the service is expanded to benefit other cancer patients over the coming months.
The first two patients were treated in November. The service has been well received by patients, who are pleased to have treatment in Carlisle. Patient Mike Barker said: “I’m grateful that this treatment can be given here. I wouldn’t have been happy to travel to Newcastle in all the bad weather.”
This service advancement has created enthusiasm among the clinical staff. Head of radiotherapy Dr Shahid Iqbal commented: “It is excellent to see our SABR service being offered from our department at Carlisle. Our north Cumbria patients will continue receiving the high quality radiotherapy service offered by NCCC, without repeated travels to Newcastle.”
Picture: Senior radiographer and team lead Gill McQuade, dosimetrist David Ashworth, clinical scientist Katie Chester, clinical specialist radiographer Alex Stamp, patient Mike Barker and treatment lead superintendent radiographer Helen Taylor.
Published on page 2 of the January 2023 issue of RAD Magazine.