Town's lifesaving cancer service faces uncertain future

The North Norfolk Macmillan Centre at Cromer Hospital. Picture: Danielle Booden

The North Norfolk Macmillan Centre at Cromer Hospital. - Credit: Danielle Booden

A question mark hangs over the future of a vital cancer service at Cromer Hospital after fears were raised about how long it will be funded for.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker has written to health authorities in a bid to make sure the hospital's acute oncology service stays after its funding runs out at the end of the year. 

Mr Baker said he was surprised to learn the service did not already have ongoing funding after its current two-year cash allotment finished at the end of 2022.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

A spokesman for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust confirmed the service's future was not yet secure, although they were "working with commissioners" on the issue.

Mr Baker said in a letter to the trust: "The acute oncology department is one that is desperately needed in our area.

"The lifeline this provides to so many patients is invaluable. It is accessible and clearly provides much lower journey times and cost than travelling to Norwich. 

"Surely it makes sense for these services to remain in Cromer. It is why we built a state-of-the-art cancer centre, to have services in Cromer, not lose them from our community."

Jane Ducker, the first patient to be treated at the new North Norfolk Macmillan Centre at Cromer and

Jane Ducker was the first patient to be treated at the new North Norfolk Macmillan Centre at Cromer and District Hospital last September. The future of the centre's acute oncology and haematology service has not been secured. - Credit: Supplied by Macmillan

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The NHS Trust spokesman would not reveal how much the acute oncology and haematology service was costing over its current two-year term. 

But he said health bosses were "really pleased" with how well the service had been received so far.

The spokesman said: "There’s an absolute commitment from everyone working in the Norfolk and Waveney healthcare system to improve cancer services and bring cancer care closer to people’s homes.

"This service has fixed funding until the end of this year and we are finalising a business case and working with commissioners on the longer-term funding for these important services.”

The service began from a mobile cancer care unit last July and them moved to the state-of-the-art North Norfolk Macmillan Centre on the hospital site when it opened in September

The centre was built at a cost of £4.85 million in response to predictions that demand for local cancer services could rise by more than 200pc over the next 10 years.