New theatre to improve cancer care for Essex
16 August 2017
The £540,000 Brachytherapy Suite at Southend University Hospital, which first opened last year, has been utilised as a theatre for the very first time, meaning that increased numbers of prostate cancer patients can receive shorter surgery times.
Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy where a sealed
radioactive source is placed in direct proximity to the tumour.
This ensures that a high dose of radiation is applied to the area
of cancer and radiation dose is minimised to normal healthy
Various applicators are used to allow the radioactive source to
travel into the body and then safely removed. This often requires
insertion under general anaesthetic in a surgical environment. It
used to take place in main theatres but now happens 'all under one
roof' in brachytherapy.
Nicolai Greet, Radiotherapy Services Manager, explained what
difference this new use of the suite would make to patients. She
said: "Utilising the Brachytherapy Suite is capitalising on the
excellent resources here at Southend for cancer care and ensuring
we are using them as efficiently as possible, which benefits staff
but most importantly is better for our patients.. It's a more
dignified and better experience for them as they spend less
time being wheeled to different areas of the hospital."
Now patients go from their ward to brachytherapy and then the
recovery suite in the same area before going back to their ward.
Previously patients had to go from ward to main theatres to
have their applicators inserted, then to brachytherapy and then
back to their ward. It is now a seamless journey cutting down the
time patients spend on a trolley.
David Heaver, Clinical Services Manager, said: "This has been an
excellent example of two different areas of the hospital, theatres
and brachytherapy, working better together to improve patient care
and improve their hospital experience. We've streamlined the
process, which is better for the patient and staff involved in
Southend Hospital performs more of these operations than
anywhere else in the country, completing four of these specialised
procedures each week, and is aiming to increase this number. It
also means main theatres are freed up for patients requiring other
forms of surgery, helping to speed up waiting times.
Imtiaz Ahmed, Radiotherapy and Cancer Service Clinical Lead,
said: "Now Southend Hospital is the cancer centre for
Urology, this development has allowed the main theatres to be
utilised for further cancer surgeries."
Image:Theatres and brachytherapy staff using the new theatre