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Jersey Radiotherapy Options Presented

The next States Assembly has been given some options for delivering a radiotherapy unit in Jersey.

Currently, patients have to travel off-island - with most going to University Southampton Hospital.

A petition asking for a unit to be included in the new hospital has been signed by more than 3,200 people.

It was set up by Rosemarie Shepherd, who has been to Southampton twice for radiotherapy.

She said it was physically and emotionally tough, especially being away from loved ones.

A Freedom of Information request, published in May 2021, said that Jersey does not have a big enough population for a unit.

The Health Minister was tasked with reporting back to the States Assembly by the end of April 2022 on whether he thinks Jersey should have its own radiotherapy unit.

A report published today states that even though demand for radiotherapy will likely rise by 50% by 2043, an on-island facility would still be approximately 48% underused at that time.

"Even if all Guernsey and private patient demand were added to Jersey's demand, it would still not exceed total capacity within the next 20 years, but would result in approximately 85% utilisation.

A positive factor arising from underutilisation is that waiting times should be minimal and less than current waits in the UK, with the prospect of improved health outcomes."

It also says at least five years will be needed to deliver a unit in Jersey.

The Health Minister will recommend that the next government look at options for improving the patient experience when travelling off-island - with a focus on travel support and accommodation.

In 2019, 221 Jersey patients underwent radiotherapy treatment.

"It will be for the next Minister for Health and Social Services, Council of Ministers, or this assembly to decide whether to take forward any of the options to full business case preparation.

Any consideration must ensure that clinical safety and the clinical outcomes that would flow from on-Island care must be as good as, if not better than, our existing arrangements.

As now, we must continue to provide islanders with safe, reliable, and high-quality radiotherapy services. I realise this can be a personal and emotive issue, but I hope the objective analysis in this report will assist and inform any future debate on this issue."

The full report can be found here.

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