An eight week consultation on centralising radiotherapy services which could see patients in west Cornwall having to travel to Derriford for treatment is coming to an end. People only have until December 18 to make their views known.

Through the consultation, NHS England says it wants to get more views on these proposals from patients, carers, members of the public, clinicians and anyone else who may have an interest in radiotherapy services.

The consultation has caused an angry reaction amongst patients. Louise Blenkinsop from Falmouth, is trying to raise awareness of the plans. She said: "NHS England are looking to centralise radiotherapy services; directly impacting on a variety of cancer sites including gynaecology.

"This would mean patients in Cornwall having to travel for radiotherapy to Derriford, possibly without having the chemotherapy running alongside it. We already have a rural community where some residents struggle to currently get to Treliske.

"For me, this seems a massive gamble for patients, restricting their access to life savings treatments. The NHS are penalising people who do not live in a big city with a handful of hospital services possibly within an accessible radius of their home."

She added: "Simply not acceptable, and in my opinion the travel/time away from home could only hinder a patient’s fight against cancer."

She is supported in her fight by consultant oncologist Dr John McGrane. He said: "Due to our geography Cornwall patients could be affected most with long journeys to Plymouth or Exeter everyday for six weeks when the same treatment is available locally. It could also affect our ability to deliver cutting edge treatment here in Cornwall.

"The public consultation runs until December 18 and it is important people have a chance to engage with it."

NHS England says that radiotherapy is a core part of modern cancer treatment. "It can cure cancers, can assist in alleviating symptoms and is cost effective. It is second only to surgery in its effectiveness in treating cancer and around 40% of patients who are cured receive radiotherapy as part of or the whole of their treatment."

The development of the proposed service specification sits alongside NHS England’s £130 million investment in radiotherapy equipment, which was announced last year and is aimed at delivering the vision for radiotherapy services. The proposed specification sets out how modernised services should be organised across England so that patients can access sustainable, high-quality and safe treatment. It also describes the benefits of doing things differently, and why the changes are needed

The specification has been developed by talking to doctors, nurses, radiographers and public and patient engagement groups and was informed by a period of stakeholder engagement in 2016.

Details on how to get involved can be found at