Northumberland cancer treatment centre starts coronavirus testing

A state-of-the-art cancer treatment centre in Northumberland has started coronavirus testing of its staff and patients.

By Ben O'Connell
Monday, 20th April 2020, 12:31 pm
Updated Monday, 20th April 2020, 12:54 pm
File picture of testing swabs c/o Ben Birchall/PA Wire
File picture of testing swabs c/o Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Rutherford Health plc announced that it has begun COVID-19 testing throughout its network of Rutherford Cancer Centres, which includes its facility at the Earth Balance wellness site in Bomarsund, between Ashington and Bedlington, as well as others in Liverpool, Reading and South Wales.

They are being processed at a laboratory in Neasden, Middlesex, with data from the testing being provided to Government ministers and advisers.

Professor Karol Sikora, chief medical officer at Rutherford Health, said: "It is vital that patients are as safe as possible when they are being treated and testing will help enormously.

"It is also hugely important that medical and nursing staff know their status as they are mixing with patients on a daily basis.

"Our patients include those referred by the NHS and we are engaging in dialogue with the Government over the data from our testing."

The company's chief executive, Mike Moran, added: "We were able to secure testing kits from South Korea which had been used successfully in Germany. Our primary concern is ensuring the safety of patients and staff."

Northumberland's Rutherford Cancer Centre was among the first in the country to offer proton beam therapy, following in the footsteps of the company's first site in Newport, Wales, and starting the treatment around the same time as the first NHS facility in Manchester.

It also provides imaging, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiotherapy and all Rutherford centres offer proton beam therapy to medically-insured private patients, self-paying patients and NHS patients where it is commissioned to provide these services.

Ahead of its opening in 2018, council leader Peter Jackson said: "For Northumberland, this is the most exciting development in the health services area that I can remember."

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