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Queen’s Hospital UK’s first to install ‘incredible’ radiotherapy machine that will halve cancer patient treatment times

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 October 2017

Members of the radiotherapy department at Queen's Hospital with the new Halcyon machine. Photo: BHRUT

Members of the radiotherapy department at Queen's Hospital with the new Halcyon machine. Photo: BHRUT

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Queen’s Hospital has become the first in the UK to introduce innovative new technology that should help make cancer patients’ treatment much less arduous.

The hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford, is one of the first in the world to introduce the new Halcyon machine, which should drastically cut treatment times and also increase patient comfort.

The smaller machine is quieter, and also requires less steps to complete a full patient scan.

Sherif Raouf, BHRUT’s Divisional Director for Cancer and Clinical Services, said he was “delighted” the hospital had secured the new machine, which will make “a huge difference” to Havering’s cancer patients.

“To have the most up-to-date technology in cancer care is important to us; however, the experience of our patients is also important.

“The Halcyon system will allow us to offer high quality, high speed, fully image-guided radiotherapy in a more patient-centred way.”

Former cancer patient Sara Turle was treated at Queen’s Hospital when she was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago and is now a passionate patient partner for BHRUT, was among the first to see the new machine.

She said: “Being diagnosed with cancer is the worst possible stage in your life. What made all the difference for me was the wonderful, caring staff who looked after me at Queen’s Hospital.

“You want to know you’ve got the best in your corner, so to have the staff, as well as this incredible machine, well, it’s like gold dust.

“I had daily radiotherapy for five weeks, and you get a bit anxious, so it’s comforting to see such a patient-friendly machine with additional safety features like fully-image guided radiotherapy, it’s wonderful.”

The trust hopes the Halcyon will halve waiting times at Queen’s busy oncology department.

Sherif added: “We’ve been really excited about the machine being operational, and hope that the first patients to be treated will have an enhanced experience. The Halcyon is an important part of our ongoing commitment to providing excellent care.”

A second Halcyon will be installed at Queen’s Hospital next year, and a further radiotherapy machine will be delivered to Queen’s in February.

The £1.7m cost has been covered thanks to a bid to NHS England’s Radiotherapy Modernisation Fund.

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