Cancer treatment group with centre in Bedlington goes into liquidation

A pioneering cancer treatment centre faces an uncertain future after its owners went into liquidation.
The Rutherford Cancer Centre North East, in Bedlington. Picture by Jill Tate.The Rutherford Cancer Centre North East, in Bedlington. Picture by Jill Tate.
The Rutherford Cancer Centre North East, in Bedlington. Picture by Jill Tate.

The Rutherford Health group, which operates a network of cancer and diagnostic centres in the UK including at Bedlington, has made an application to be placed into liquidation.

The £32million centre at the Earth Balance site in Bomarsund opened in 2018 and joined the group’s network of oncology centres in South Wales, Liverpool and Thames Valley.

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Rutherford Health offered an extensive range of advanced cancer treatments at its centres including high energy proton beam therapy, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, diagnostic imaging and supportive care services.

Staff at the Group’s centres have been informed and arrangements are being made to transfer patients to alternative facilities.

A number of factors have contributed to the decision to place the group into liquidation, including the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacting a critical lack of patient volume.

The group had invested in building its cancer centre network but the cost of infrastructure combined with impacted patient flow created challenging trading conditions.

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The group offered the NHS a not-for-profit national contract in addition to existing local contracts but it was not taken up.

Sean Sullivan, Chief Restructuring Officer and Interim CEO, said: “Rutherford Health has been committed to providing high quality care, and the past couple of years has proven to be an extremely challenging time for the business.

“Covid has been particularly damaging for us as fewer patients were presenting with side effects during the lockdowns, and as a result cancer diagnosis has been delayed and sadly, in many cases, missed.

"This has meant fewer cancer patients have been presenting to our centres.

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“Added to that, the business had grown rapidly over recent years.

"It was a very expensive business to set up, with over £240million of capital expenditure to build and develop the cancer centres across the country, however, unfortunately patient numbers have not matched that.

“We made several offers to the NHS, and whilst we secured some contracts they were insufficient and we have not been able to secure mechanisms to expedite process.

"This added to severe financial pressures on the business and we had no option other than to place the group into liquidation.

“We are very proud to have been able to serve the community and cancer patients across the country."

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