A deal for the first hospital in the UK to offer proton beam therapy to fight cancer has been agreed. The hospital, which will open within two years is the first UK venture by VPS Healthcare Group, an Abu Dhabi based health company, in a deal brokered by a London-based private equity group C & C Alpha Group, as reported by The Telegraph.
The private cancer hospital, costing £150 million, is expected to begin treating patients in 2017.
The hospital will be built on the site of the historic grade II listed Royal masonic Hospital in Hammersmith in west London, which had been run by the NHS but closed down almost 10 years ago.
The new hospital is promising to offer proton beam therapy among its treatments. The therapy is currently only available abroad and since 2008 the NHS has sent about 400 patients abroad for a treatment, that is particularly well suited for children with brain tumours.
The row over the lack of proton beam therapy treatment in the UK intensified when the parents of five-year-old Ashya King were jailed in Spain after fleeing with their sick child, angry that the NHS was refusing to pay for him to have the therapy abroad.
After a public outcry, Ashya was treated at a clinic in Prague.
In March, his parents announced that the latest scan had found him cancer free.
The procedure involves firing beams of protons at the tumour to destroy cancerous cells.
Unlike conventional radiotherapy, the beam of protons stops once it “hits” the cancerous cells, causing less damage to surrounding tissue.
The NHS has promised to build two proton beam therapy centres in England – one in London, the other in Manchester – by 2018.
The 150-bed private hospital is due to open a year earlier. It is the first UK venture by VPS Healthcare Group, an Abu Dhabi based health company, in a deal brokered by a London-based private equity group C & C Alpha.
Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, said: he Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “This is a tremendous vote of confidence in London’s thriving life sciences sector as well as the skills and talent of our amazing healthcare professionals.”