MP Damien Moore is pressing for the urgent reopening of the cancer treatment hub at Southport Hospital.
The Southport MP has been contacted by a number of concerned cancer patients in his constituency who revealed their upset at having to endure two-hour round trips for daily Chemotherapy treatment at Aintree Hospital in Liverpool throughout the past four months of the Coronavirus pandemic.
In his letter to Mr Moore, one constituent wrote: “It is scandalous that Southport residents are being forced to travel to Aintree Hospital, my sister included, to receive Chemotherapy.
“In traffic, this is a good two hour journey, when I could take her in five minutes, by car, to the Southport hub.
“Getting this hub reopened is far more important than a pub or shop reopening.”
In a reply to Mr Moore, the chief executive at Southport Hospital apologised for the distress caused to cancer patients in Southport, as she outlined why the changes were made and pledged to return services when it is safe to do so.
Southport MP Damien Moore said: “I would like to thank all of the patients in Southport who have contacted me to tell me of their upset at seeing this vital service temporarily withdrawn from Southport, and of the very apparent distress this has caused them.
“We need to see the cancer hub return to Southport Hospital as a matter of utmost urgency.
“I will continue to press both Southport and Ormskirk NHS Hospitals Trust and Clatterbridge Hospital for an exact date when these vital services will return to Southport for the benefit of some of our most vulnerable residents.”
In a letter to Mr Moore, Southport and Ormskirk NHS Hospitals Trust Chief Executive Trish Armstrong-Child said: “Firstly please allow me to apologise on behalf of Southport and Ormskirk NHS Hospitals Trust for the distress the changes to the chemotherapy service has caused your constituent.
“Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the last few months have brought about significant challenges which have meant that whilst not ideal we have had to implement changes to deliver care in the safest way possible.
“As part of the Covid-19 preparations the decision was made by Clatterbridge to suspend their satellite services and return all chemotherapy administration to their Hub sites (in this case Aintree Hospital).
“The staff who work for the Clatterbridge service are employed by Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Trust and not Southport and Ormskirk NHS Hospitals Trust.
“The change in service provision has enabled patients to continue to be treated safely with the lowest risk of infection and for staff to remain in one location ensuring continuity of care despite sickness absences within their services.
“At this present time Chemotherapy continues to be delivered at Ormskirk Hospital for patients being treated for Haematology conditions, and it is our understanding that the Clatterbridge service to patients with solid tumour cancers is being reviewed alongside the changing Government guidelines, with the intention to recommence treatment locally to Southport and Ormskirk patients as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
“We are working with our partners at Clatterbridge and the service is planned to resume in Southport and Ormskirk when we are able to safely deliver the service here in an environment suitable to meet patients’ needs.
“Thank you for raising your concerns. The Trust will endeavour to work with partners to ensure services can remain safe and responsive.”