WORK to build two centres for specialist cancer treatment has been welcomed by Ashya King’s grandmother.
The NHS has announced that two businesses have been assigned to start work on building two proton beam therapy centres in the UK.
The treatment is currently not available in this country, and the King family made the headlines last year when parents Brett and Naghemeh took their five-year-old son Ashya to the Czech Republic so he could have the treatment.
His grandmother Patricia, of Southsea, said: ‘It’s good they are building the centres here, I hope they actually do it.
‘Ashya is doing well from his treatment.
‘He’s talking more and walking a little, he’s swimming and he is so happy.’
The government has invested £250m in creating the two centres – one in London and one in Manchester.
Varian Medical Systems has been named as the equipment supplier for both, with Portsmouth-based Bouygues UK as the building contractor for London and Interserve Construction Ltd in Manchester. Work begins this summer and the centres are expected to open for patients in 2018.
Public health minister Jane Ellison said: ‘The NHS is rising to the challenge on cancer – dealing with 700,000 more admissions this parliament compared to the last, while at the same time survival rates are rising to record levels.
‘We want NHS patients to have the very best care and treatment and this announcement brings us a crucial step closer to offering cancer patients proton beam therapy in the UK.’