A dinner was held at the ARK Conference Centre in Basingstoke to launch a campaign to raise £5million for a new Cancer Centre. At the dinner were the Mayors of Basingstoke and Test Valley, and the Deputy Mayor of Winchester. The proposed Cancer Centre will serve the populations of Basingstoke, Andover and Winchester, and would enable those who need radiotherapy and chemotherapy to access treatment locally instead of, in many cases, going to Southampton.
After the dinner, Merv Rees, Clinical Director of Surgery at Basingstoke Hospital and Consultant Liver Surgeon spoke, together with Dr Lara Alloway, the Palliative Care Physician at Basingstoke Hospital. They explained that they had initiated a design competition for the proposed Centre, and had shortlisted five designs which were on display before the dinner. The Centre would have two linear accelerators, providing radiotherapy, together with facilities for chemotherapy and supportive care. The Centre would provide 16,000 treatments for radiotherapy, 10,000 for chemotherapy and 20,000 out-patient sessions per year, and it would mean that 92% of the population would receive treatment locally.
Lara Alloway explained that this would enhance the healing environment, and reduce travel times for the local population. There would also be adequate car parking, as many patients spent as much time try to park as making the journey to hospitals.
Once constructed, the Centre would be run by the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which would also make a contribution towards the capital cost of construction. "I wish this project well, and the 120 people at the dinner were challenged to find 10 ambassadors each, to support the project. If each ambassador provided £5, that would mean £600,000 had already been raised for the centre. Merv Rees has already raised £7million for the ARK, and has a formidable reputation not just for treating those with liver cancer, but also for raising funds and driving projects like this forward."