THE new £7.7m radiotherapy unit at Hereford County Hospital will be open later this summer.

Practical completion of the building is due at the end of the month when it will be formally handed over to Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (GHNHSFT).

From the  handover, commissioning work on the building - including the £2m Linear Accelerator - will continue in preparation for the unit’s operational readiness.

The Unit has been built by GHNHSFT which will also staff and manage the facility.

As a satellite service the unit will bring cancer services closer to Herefordshire patients who will no longer have to travel regularly to Cheltenham for treatment.

GHNHSFT Chief Executive Dr Frank Harsent said the announcement of a late summer opening was a significant milestone for a project that demonstrated the benefits of “true partnership working”  between GHNHSFT, Wye Valley NHS Trust, the 3 Counties Cancer Network and local campaigners.

The new unit will provide thousands of treatment sessions a year for the majority of county patients.

A small percentage of patients will still have to travel to Cheltenham for more specialised treatments and the expertise of a centralised clinical team.

All patients, however, will still travel to Cheltenham for initial treatment planning sessions.