PLANS have been approved to build Worcestershire’s first state of the art radiotherapy centre.

NHS Midlands and East gave the go-ahead to build the county's first radiotherapy centre at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester.

With this final seal of approval Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Alexandra Hospital, can now finalise contracts for the new centre.

The news follows on from the Department of Health approving the £22.4million loan to fund the project and the three new Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups agreeing to provide additional local funding.

Simon Hairsnape, speaking on behalf of NHS Worcestershire, said: “The new radiotherapy centre will ensure that the vast majority of radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments will be delivered within Worcestershire - which is great news for local patients.”

The radiotherapy facilities will provide treatment for the county’s cancer patients and means that they will no longer face long journeys out of the county for care.

It is estimated it will save patients about one million miles of travel every year.

It will also mean more effective targeting of tumours, less damage to surrounding tissue and less risk of complications.

Adel Makar, lead cancer clinician, said: “This is excellent news for the population of Worcestershire.

“As important as this milestone is, it only represents a piece of the jigsaw (albeit a big piece) in the wider Worcestershire Oncology Project, which includes other developments like the Acute Oncology service, streamlining of multidisciplinary team workings and other, which are well underway.”

Paul Crawford, a former patient and throat cancer survivor, added: "This is wonderful news for Worcestershire cancer patients and their carers.

“This new local radiotherapy centre will prevent patients from having to travel miles out of county for their treatment often in far from comfortable conditions.

“This centre will provide treatment for generations to come by giving Worcestershire its own well needed facility. Bring on the diggers and turn a dream into reality.”

It is hoped the centre will be open in late 2014.