Mount Vernon Cancer Centre could stay open under new management

A cancer centre should continue operating despite fears it may have to move its services to central London.

The University College London Hospitals NHS Trust (UCLH) says they should be awarded a contract which would mean Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Northwood could continue operating.

Mount Vernon Cancer Centre is currently run under the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, and treats patients from surround areas including Watford, Harrow and Barnet.

In an urgent clinical advisory panel review, the centre was found to be neglected.

The Department of Health and Social Care were later unable to confirm if money would be invested to the centre, with it being at risk of moving its services to central London.

But the UCLH announced NHS England’s Regional Leadership team has recently agreed that the trust should be awarded a contract to run the centre from April 2021.

If the decision to transfer the contract is confirmed, the change of management would mean the service could continue in or near Northwood.

A spokesperson from the trust said: “A change in provider would mean a change in the management of the centre.

“Patients will not need to travel to central London for treatment, unless that is part of an existing cancer pathway or necessary to benefit from a specialist clinical trial or treatment not available at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre.

“We look forward to working with patients and colleagues at Mount Vernon, East and North Herts NHS Trust and NHS England to develop local cancer provision for the whole Mount Vernon population, in line with the advice from the NHS England’s Mount Vernon Programme Board.

“Any changes proposed will be designed to improve the service, for example to provide better access for patients.

“A public consultation will take place when necessary.”

Work will begin in February to consider the best way to meet the needs of the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre population in the long-term.

Patients, clinician and stakeholders, including local hospitals and CCGs, will be involved in developing a range of options for maintain services at or near the site.

While the review continues, there will be no changes to where patients receive treatment.

Gareth Thomas, Labour MP for Harrow West, has been campaigning against the closure and said it would be a “national scandal” if it were to shut.

Watford MP Dean Russell recently tweeted that he has written to the Health Secretary regarding Mount Vernon, praising that it treats many people from Watford.

Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor has also written to the Health Secretary, as he said a possible closure would be “devastating for people in our town”.

The trust explained the decision for the contract is subject to a “due diligence process”, but in the meantime they will provide leadership support to the centre from April 2020.

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