Cancer patients in Barnsley can now be treated closer to home, after a collaboration between Weston Park Cancer Centre in Sheffield and Burleigh Medical Centre in Barnsley was set up.
The scheme began as the full impact of Covid-19 came to light on NHS cancer treatment backlogs. The British Medical Association found that cancer patients treated within the target timescale of two months from urgent GP referral, has dropped by over 10% from May 2020 to December 2021.
The initiative, named WestonPark@BurleighMedicalCentre, currently runs on Thursdays and Fridays, but is expected to expand soon. It allows Barnsley patients to have a more comfortable treatment experience.
Dr Madhavi Guntamukkala, the Medical Director at NHS Barnsley CCG said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to improve people’s experience and outcomes. Treatment for cancer can often be tiring and with this new option we can take some of that additional stress and exhaustion of travel out of it.”
The project is being funded by the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS Cancer Alliance, and is part of a wider scheme to bring more cancer treatment closer to home in the area.
Although the scheme was launched regionally by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, it came after Sajid Javid launched a call for evidence last week as a part of the government’s ambitious 10-year plan to tackle cancer in the UK.
Dr Lucy Walkington, Clinical Director for Specialist Cancer Services at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals said: “We are delighted to have been able to work with our colleagues at NHS Barnsley CCG and Burleigh Medical Centre to establish this service.
“Where it is clinically appropriate, delivering treatment closer to home is better for patients, some of whom otherwise have to travel a considerable distance. This collaboration will enable patients to attend treatment more easily and stay closer to their local support networks.”
Burleigh Medical Centre will have a dedicated treatment suite, seven treatment chairs and will be nurse and pharmacy led by specialists from Weston Park. It is an extension of their day case unit and patients will receive systemic anti-cancer therapy.
Although most Barnsley patients will be able to now access treatment close by, those in need of more complex and specialist treatment will continue to be treated at Weston Park Cancer Centre.