Swindon Radiotherapy Centre celebrates one year anniversary

The first year of the radiotherapy centre has seen almost 600 people receive cancer treatment and saved patients significant travel time

Published: 22 November 2023 Radiotherapy

The Oxford University Hospitals Radiotherapy Centre in Swindon last month marked its one-year anniversary of its first patient treatment.

Since welcome its first patient in October 2022, 593 patients have been treated, involving 6,606 radiotherapy treatments and 544 CT scans.

In total – and based on a Swindon-Oxford round trip – these treatments have saved people driving approximately 500,000 miles (about 173.6 tonnes carbon dioxide equivilent). Based on a 2.5 hour-round trip, patients have saved total of 17,900 hours, or 744 days.

The centre is an expansion of Oxford University Hospital's (OUH) radiotherapy service which was previously only available at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford.

'Such a huge difference'

It houses two state-of-the-art linear accelerators, used for external beam radiotherapy, and a specialist radiotherapy CT scanner.

Maz Drew, a 39-year-old assistant headteacher from Swindon, received treatment at the centre in 2022 after discovering a lump and being diagnosed with stage 2, grade 3 triple negative breast cancer. After 19 cycles of chemotherapy, a lumpectomy, and 15 radiotherapy treatments, she is now cancer free and in her final stages of preventative treatment.

Ms Drew said: “The radiotherapy service in Swindon has made such a huge difference as I have been able to work throughout my treatment. I was so glad to be able to just pop to the hospital in Swindon to have my treatment and get back to work. 

“Had I had to go to Oxford I would have been out of work for the best part of the day and would have needed to take a significant amount of time off work. I had the best treatment during radiotherapy. Everyone was so kind and welcoming, and the radiotherapists got to know me and always made me feel comfortable. 

“The team was so flexible and when I needed to change the timings of some of my appointments due to work they were always obliging and helpful. They have been amazing and I'm so thankful for all their care and support."

'Years in the making'

Jo Watts, operational manager at the centre, said: "We are so pleased to have been able to help the hundreds of patients over the last 12 months, providing them care much closer to home that makes such a positive difference to them and their families.

"From the very start of this project, the people of Swindon really got behind the centre, and we are forever grateful for the incredible fundraising by them, Brighter Futures and the Rotary Clubs of Swindon and surrounding areas.

"This centre was years in the making and, thanks to the support from a dedicated team of staff and our partners, we are so proud to be celebrating its first anniversary. We are looking forward to providing care to the people in and around Swindon who need us."

OUH invested £18.4m in this project and locals donated £2.9 million towards the specialist equipment needed to provide radiotherapy in Swindon, through the charity Brighter Futures' Radiotherapy Appeal.

'Years of hard work'

Kevin McNamara, chief executive at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It's great to be able to mark this significant milestone after many years of hard work to bring radiotherapy to Swindon. With many people in the local area facing cancer and needing the life-saving treatment, it was really important that we did all we could to help make the experience that bit easier by reducing the need for a 70-mile round trip.

“I'm really pleased that so many people have already benefited from our local radiotherapy centre, and hope it continues to bring comfort to patients and their families for many years to come.”

The department has previously been featured on BBC Points West, as well as BBC Wiltshire.

The centre was ceremonially opened in June 2022, and staff cared for their first patients on  11 October, 2022.