The Western Trust has marked the beginning of construction work on the Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin Hospital, with staff and key stakeholders.
The contractor is currently preparing the site to enable the start of construction later this month.
The new £50million plus Radiotherapy Unit will offer an increased capacity in Northern Ireland for radiotherapy services and will cater for over half a million people living on both sides of the border. This will make a real difference to people being treated for cancer and their families. It is expected to be completed by 2016.
Speaking at an event to mark the significant milestone, Chairman of the Western Trust Gerard Guckian said: “The Western Trust is delighted to reach this significant milestone in the history of the Radiotherapy Project at Altnagelvin Hospital.
“The initial site preparations and building works have now commenced and when finished the building will become one of the most important and modern health care facilities for people living with cancer in the North West.
“The new Radiotherapy Unit will touch the lives of so many people in the Western Trust area and in the Republic of Ireland for years to come. We look forward to working with the contractor McLaughlin and Harvey Limited to deliver this important project within the agreed timeframe of 2016.”
Una Cardin, Radiotherapy Unit Manager said: “We are working behind the scenes to ensure this unique cross-border project is delivered on time and to the highest standard.
“We are currently building our team of consultants and healthcare professionals who are leading the clinical progress of this project. It is encouraging for everyone involved to see the physical work starting on site and we look forward to delivering high quality care to our cancer patients the new Unit come 2016.”
The Health Minister Edwin Poots has expressed hope the brand new radiotherapy centre will be opened by mid-2016.
The new radiotherapy unit is regarded as vital as existing services in Belfast are expected to be full to capacity by 2015.
Over three years ago the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPSNI) said it anticipated that the cancer centre at Belfast City Hospital would be at capacity by 2015.
The ultra-modern radiotherapy centre will include four linear accelerators inside especially constructed bunkers to protect people outside the bunker from radiation used to treat cancer sufferers.