Cancer centre gets go ahead despite staff poaching fear

First published in News

PLANS for a new private radiotherapy centre in Oxford have been approved, despite objections from hospital chiefs.

Senior doctors at the Oxford University Hospitals Trust and the Churchill Hospital expressed concerns that staff could be poached by the new Cancer Partners facility, planned for Beaumont House in Littlemore.

But the proposals for the new centre on the former Royal Mail site were approved last night by members of the Oxford City Council east area planning committee.

Littlemore councillor John Tanner tried to sink the application on the grounds that more people could be employed if the site continued to be used as offices, than if it became a health centre.

But Roy Darke, chairman of the committee, said the council could lose a lot of money if a refusal was appealed and Mr Tanner's motion was lost.

The plans were eventually approved by three votes to two, but Van Coulter said he voted in favour reluctantly. He said: “I do hope most sincerely that the proprietors of this organisation do not poach staff from the local market."

In a letter of objection, Oxford University Hospitals chief executive Sir Jonathan Michael described the new centre as “unnecessary” referring to the fact that a state-of-the-art £109m cancer centre was opened on the Churchill Hospital site in 2009.

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His letter also stated: “I am concerned that the proposed employment of 18 expert staff, radiographers and chemotherapy nurses, in the Cancer Partners unit would destabilise recruitment and retention of these staff in the Churchill Hospital.”

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