Ex-Mayor officially opens £1.2m radiotherapy machine

Coun Margaret Sheard, then Mayor of Barnsley, opens the new information centre at Weston Park hospital and meets patients
Coun Margaret Sheard, then Mayor of Barnsley, opens the new information centre at Weston Park hospital and meets patients
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A STATE-of-the art radiotherapy machine and a new dedicated patient information centre where cancer patients can receive support have been officially opened by the former Mayor of Barnsley at the hospital which saved her life.

Coun Margaret Sheard returned to Weston Park Hospital to visit staff and open a new £1.2m Linac radiotherapy machine. The pioneering piece of equipment will allow South Yorkshire patients to be treated with some of the most advanced radiotherapy equipment in the country.

Coun Sheard was treated at the hospital when she was fighting the disease around 15 years ago.

She said she was “honoured” to visit the unit and open the new facilities.

“My treatment was successful and I couldn’t praise the staff enough for how they helped me deal with my illness,” Coun Sheard said.

“Having been a senior nurse who worked in the NHS for more than 38 years I did have an insight in to the treatments but you are still a patient with a serious illness.

“I recognised the building from the outside but what a transformation I saw once inside. The main facility was so much lighter and the architectural improvements have made a significant difference. The patient areas have been extended and developed which I am sure will make a big difference to all the patients and the people who accompany them when they come to have their treatment.”

The new machine has more computer-controlled shields that shape the radiation beam precisely to the shape of the tumour, enabling the team at the hospital to protect healthy tissue from the radiation beams. In turn this allows the patient to have an increased dose directed at the mass.

It also comes with imaging equipment which not only lets the clinicians take X-ray images during the patient’s treatment, but also includes a built-in CT scanner which allows the patient to be scanned just before their treatment to ensure the accuracy of their radiotherapy.

During her visit Coun Sheard also opened the new patient information room which has been refurbished with money from the Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity to provide a comfortable relaxing environment for patients to pick up and read information leaflets.

Moria Tomlinson, senior manager for radiation services, said: “Patients have told us that they are sometimes embarrassed about picking up certain leaflets in public areas and this provides somewhere within the waiting area, but separate, where they can do this.

“It will also provide an area where staff will be able to talk to patients in confidence.’’