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King George cancer patients may have to travel to central London for complex surgery

13:45 27 March 2013

Redbridge cancer sufferers may have to travel to central London for complex surgery under new plans to transfer some operations from King George Hospital.

Urological cancers in the prostate, kidney and bladder would still be diagnosed, treated and rehabilitated at King George, in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, but some patients would go to University College Hospital, in Euston, for surgery.

Umbrella organisation London Cancer estimates less than one fifth of prostate and cancer patients would be affected, but three-quarters of kidney cancer sufferers could be referred.

The most recent figures available, for 2009, show that 36 bladder and prostate cancer patients and 24 kidney patients needed complex surgery in the year.

People would also be transferred from Queen’s Hospital, in Romford, but a London Cancer spokesman said local hospitals would still provide “the majority” of care.

She added: “The proposals relate to improving the whole patient journey.”

Redbridge group the Association of Prostate Patients in London and Essex (APPLE) have “mixed feelings” about the change.

Chairman Ken Mastris said: “The main concern from the patients’ view is transport into central London.

“But everybody is in agreement about having a centre of excellence.

“With prostate cancer, it’s really down to how good the surgeon is and the new facilities at University College Hospital will be good.”

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) did not bid to provide the new centralised surgery.

Medical director Mike Gill urged London Cancer to limit the move to “very specialist procedures”.

He added: “The pathway group and London Cancer should continually be assessing when local is possible and only continue to centralise where definitely necessary according to best evidence.”

No facilities or wards at King George Hospital will be lost if the surgery is relocated.

A new dedicated urology unit opened in Iris Ward earlier this month.

A consultation on the changes will finish on Friday.

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