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Updated: Oncology Hospital welcomes first patients

Video: Darrin Zammit Lupi

(Adds PN statement)

The Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Hospital welcomed its first 50 outpatients today in the first step towards migration from Boffa Hospital by next May.

The hospital started being excavated in 2010 and building started in 2012. It cost €52 million and an estimated €8 million a year are required to run it.

The hospital is offering more advanced radiotherapy with two machines commissioned from the Leeds Spencer Centre, where they were introduced last year.

The machines will enable more precise radiotherapy and stronger doses reducing the length and frequency of sessions.

Parliamentary Secretary Chris Fearne said the government was also considering expanding radiotherapy services to include autologous transplants.

Beds at the new hospital were being increased from the 78 at Boffa to 113 and the outpatient clinics from two to 12.

The type of chemotherapy to be given will also be more advanced.

Mr Fearne said the government was also considering a clinical trials unit through which Maltese patients would be able to benefit from new medicines not yet on the market.

A new MRI machine would help reduce waiting lists and palliative care beds were also being increased from the 10 at Boffa to 16.

Patients and their families would be followed before, during and after treatment and more training was being provided for staff. A total of 47 new professionals were recently recruited.

Mr Fearne said Malta recorded 2,000 new cases of cancer per year and 700 to 800 deaths.

HOSPITAL WILL MARK QUANTUM LEAP IN ONCOLOGY TREATMENT - PN SPOKESMAN

In a statement, PN health spokesman Claudio Grech said the Oncology Hospital was a beacon of hope for thousands of patients who went through the hardship and challenging path of treating cancer.

"This hospital will mark a quantum leap in the oncology treatment in our country, establishing a centre of excellence with the sole aim to step up the national health service’s capacity to treat cancer and ensure that our patients are given the best treatment possible in our country.

"This hospital is a beacon of hope as it also clearly marks how a consensual healthcare policy can serve this country so much better."

Mr Grech said the idea, planning, funding and works started under the former Nationalist administration with the present government following through and completing the project.

"Hopefully, this model will be used in other areas of healthcare policy wherein our common goal would be the improvement of the long-term quality of healthcare provided rather than the short-term quick political wins."

Mr Grech looked forward to the timely completion of the hospital and said the Nationalist Party expressed gratitude and admiration for the workforce at Boffa Hospital.

"These employees are a living example of what it means to care for their patients and to support the patients’ families in what would be the hardest time that they would ever go through in their lives."

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