THE campaign to keep the cancer centre at Mount Vernon Hospital may soon be over if a consultation into its future goes the right way.
The shape of cancer services at the Cancer Centre in Rickmansworth Road, Northwood, will be decided over the next year through a development process led by the PCTs that commission its services.
The first stage of the process began last yesterday (Thursday) and will ask stakeholders, patients and user groups to agree a list of options on the future of its location.
The three options are to move the Cancer Centre to a different site, keep the Centre at Mount Vernon and restrict development at the site, or keep the Centre at Mount Vernon and build a new capacity at one or more satellite locations.
However, the steering group overseeing the process are recommending that only the last two options are put forward to the next stage of the process.
The Community Voice, an umbrella group linking local organisations concerned with good NHS services, has been campaigning for years to keep the Cancer Centre at Mount Vernon.
Chairman of the group, Joan Davis, said: "The consultation document is fantastic news that people have worked for, for many years.
"The Varley report (published in 2002) recommended that the Cancer Centre be moved to a new hospital or to a district general hospital elsewhere in Hertfordshire.
"It's fantastic that the new review has made clear that the steering group wishes to overturn the Varley recommendations.
"We welcome the last option because it will benefit patients who live a long distance from the Cancer Centre."
Anne Walker, chair of the steering group and chief executive of East and North Hertfordshire PCT and West Hertfordshire PCT, said: "This is a real opportunity for everyone that has an interest in the future of cancer services at the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre to make their views heard. The views that are expressed will help us shape the proposals for change."
The first stage of the review will finish on November 4 and an interim report based on this process will be published at the end of the year.