Linear accelerators enhance cancer care at Royal Derby Hospital


Existing equipment replaced with new Varian Truebeams from Asteral

The Royal Derby hospital has installed the first of three new linear accelerators which will enhance cancer care.

The trust’s equipment partner, Asteral, is replacing the three existing linear accelerators with new Varian Truebeams.

As well as replacing the equipment, Asteral is working closely with the radiotherapy team to refurbish the department’s bunkers and control rooms as part of a 22-month improvement project.

The Truebeam is the first of the fixed items to be delivered to Derby as part of its Asteral Select contract, which started in April 2015.

Asteral began work to replace the first linear accelerator in January, with the decommissioning of the first system.

The first Varian TrueBeam system has now been delivered, with the initial installation complete ahead of schedule, ready for the system go live in mid-August.

The new systems will put Royal Derby at the forefront in the fight against cancer by targeting treatment wherever it is needed. It will also enable the trust to tailor treatment more accurately and quickly.

The delivery follows an extensive design and build programme managed by Asteral’s implementation team, which worked with estates managers and clinical departments to plan and oversee the installation, commissioning and training on all equipment as well as managing building works.

The decommissioning of the second linear accelerator will begin in September.

Kevin Downs, the trust’s director of finance and performance, said: “Following the successful introduction of our Managed Equipment Service by Asteral in April 2015, the trust has experienced a general improvement in equipment availability and less downtime across the spectrum.

“We are now pleased to announce that during the first quarter of 2016 Asteral has, in conjunction with the staff in our radiotherapy department, successfully replaced the first of our linear accelerator machines with new Varian Radiotherapy machinery to enhance our patient treatment services.

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“This has been accomplished with no disruption to the delivery of the current level of patient services while the programme has been undertaken and now leaves the trust better placed to deliver improved patient services into the future.”