A neurosurgeon fears specialist units that treat thousands of people could potentially be at risk under a draft NHS report.
Dr Andras Kemeny spoke out about a leaked report by NHS England reviewing facilities that provide a non-invasive technique used to treat brain tumours, epilepsy and pain disorders with a precision of 0.1mm.
Sheffield is home to the National Centre for Stereotactic Radiosurgery, based at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, and there is a gamma-knife unit at the Thornbury Hospital.
The documents say ‘a concentration of existing provision is required’ and one option would result in the north having two units - when it currently has six operational.
Dr Kemeny, former director of the national centre and now director of radiosurgery at the Thornbury, said: “There is no guarantee that those remaining units would be in Sheffield.
“This treatment is one of the greatest success stories of neurosurgery. If this report by NHS England is approved then it would be a disaster.” Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it had not been informed of ‘any plans to close facilities in Sheffield’.
Specialist teams care for over 1,000 patients a year as day cases.
Dr Kemeny, also president of the British Radiosurgery Society, said closing facilities would mean more patients would have to go under the knife, and would increase pressure on centres, cost more, and restrict patient choice.
NHS England said the report was an ‘early draft’ and no decisions had been made. Consultation would happen if changes were planned.