Mile End hospital has been chosen as the home of a pioneering new £5m cancer centre to provide speedier diagnosis for patients across north East London.
The Trust will host and run this innovative service in collaboration with our neighbouring acute providers, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University NHS Trust and Homerton University NHS Trust.
Plans are now underway to make sure that the site is ready to go live in December 2019. A patient advisory group has also been established to co-design services which are intended to give patients greater choice over appointments.
The £5.2m development will host two endoscopy suites and two ultrasound rooms, co-located with an existing CT scanner. This will provide capacity to undertake 7,200 extra colonoscopies and 12,000 extra ultrasound scans a year. Further funding is being sought from NHS England for an MRI scanner as well.
The Early Diagnosis Centre (EDC) will be the first of its kind and will improve diagnosis for patients with conditions that increase the risk of cancer. The first phase will benefit patients with gastrointestinal conditions (such as polyps), inflammatory bowel disease, liver cirrhosis, and Hepatitis B and C. Phase two would extend screening to patients with early stage prostate cancer as well,
The project to boost diagnostic capacity is being taken forward by the UCLH Cancer Collaborative, of which the Trust is a member. More than one-fifth of cancer patients in the boroughs we serve present as emergencies to our A&E departments, which is above the national average and rising. Almost a third of the cancers diagnosed as a result are colorectal or gastro-intestinal, and the pressure on existing services has been highlighted by a 30% increase in the number of patients referred for urgent diagnosis.
Cancer survival rates in Newham and Tower Hamlets are also among the lowest in the country: effectively ten years behind the national rate (which is now an more than 80% chance of survival a year after diagnosis). Waltham Forest also lags behind the national average, though it has improved considerably since the turn of the century. Newham has also improved, but not by so much, while the current survival rate in Tower Hamlets (71.4%) is actually marginally worse than it was in 2000.
Angela Wong, chair of the Barts Health cancer clinical board, said: “The number of urgent cancer referrals is rising and our local providers are all reaching a tipping point in meeting national waiting times standards. The new centre will enable us to deliver transformational clinical pathways so we can diagnose these deadly diseases faster and earlier, prevent them spreading, and ultimately save lives.”