Western Trust releases latest update on Altnagelvin Radiotherapy Centre

radiotherapy altnagelvin

The Western Trust has released its latest bi-monthly update on the new Radiotherapy Centre at Altnagelvin Hospital, saying the facility remains on track to treat patients in the late Autumn of this year.

At present, all equipment has been installed, and is being commissioned and tested.

The Trust says the Radiotherapy Team is working closely with Letterkenny University Hospital, from where an estimated 400 patients per year will be treated.

Regular meetings are taking place with clinical teams in Letterkenny, Galway and Dublin to agree and enable the safe handover of patients, including protocols for the sharing of information.

A YouTube video featuring interviews with two senior staff members has also been released.

[youtube height="HEIGHT" width="WIDTH"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGkkKuEc5eg&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

Dr David Stewart, Clinical Lead for Oncology

The new Radiotherapy Centre remains on track to treat the first cancer patients from the Northwest in the Northwest for the first time in the late Autumn of this year.

The Linac treatment machines and CT simulator have been installed and are being commissioned for treatment by the Altnagelvin physics team. The multidisciplinary team is preparing pathways and protocols to deliver advanced state of the art radiotherapy treatments for patients when the new Centre opens. An experienced medical team has been appointed to deal with the tumour sites in the service profile and only a few of the consultant oncology posts remain to be filled with more interviews in June.

The first junior doctors (F2s) will commence work on ward 43 oncology/haematology in August. Work is on going in collaboration with colleagues in the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre Belfast, the Northern Trust, Letterkenny University Hospital, Dublin and Galway to ensure agreed  multi-disciplinary team working, protocols and pathways in advance of the new Centre opening.

The Radiotherapy Team is focusing on the design and delivery of safe, high quality patient services that will be accessed by patients from Letterkenny University Hospital’s catchment area and will see approximately 400 patients per year from that area receiving treatment at Altnagelvin Hospital.
The new service will increase treatment capacity, improve patient access and shorten travel times for patients from the North West region. In designing this service we are working with the clinical teams in Letterkenny, Galway and Dublin to advance the delivery of safe seamless services for our patients. The Radiotherapy and clinical teams  are engaging and working together to agree and enable the safe handover of patients who will require treatment. This work is focusing on: electronic exchange of clinical information; clinical pathways; referrals; clinical documents and discharge letters and OPD letters.The project team are also being supported by our voluntary sector partners and the cancer charity groups in Letterkenny. In April, Una Cardin presented at the 'Relay for Life', Donegal, cancer conference. Una spoke about the progress of the building and the recruitment of key staff.

Construction work is progressing apace across all areas.  The windows, glazing and curtain walling installations are nearing completion.  The installation of the lifts is continuing.  The landscaping works have commenced at ground level and on the roof terraces.  Mechanical and Electrical third fix works have begun in a number of areas and the plant room installations are ongoing. Installation of the built-in furniture has begun. The inside of the building is now beginning to take shape.

The CT Simulator to be used for treatment planning has been delivered and is currently being installed by the supplier.

This is a very exciting time as recruitment  for the service continues to progress with the appointment of key Medical staff, Medical Physics, Nursing staff, Medical Imaging, Administration, Pharmacy and Allied Health Professional staff.

We are currently advertising for positions in our senior medical team, for Consultant Oncologists and Specialty Doctors. During the month of June we will commence a high profile campaign to recruit the nursing workforce required for the service.

The Therapeutic Radiography team held a very successful workshop during May. The work throughout the day was built on the overarching radiotherapy service vision statement 'To provide innovative and holistic Cancer Care for our patients' and the radiotherapy service mission statement 'To deliver safe, high quality care to our patients, in the right place at the right time by empowering our staff within a culture of continuous improvement.'

The purpose of the workshop  was to involve the full team of radiographers in the effective shaping of this new service. There are currently 26 radiographers in post at Altnagelvin, who have been undertaking many areas of operational service design. This workshop gave everyone the opportunity to share their efforts to date. The team collectively discussed ways to improve their proposed workflows, processes and protocols across the highly complex radiotherapy pathway from the point of patient referral to the point of discharge and patient follow-up.

There are several more workshops planned in the coming weeks.  These will focus on streamlining and improving operational service design and will involve the full multi-disciplinary team to ensure that a safe and effective service can be delivered by late Autumn 2016.