A new state-of-the-art cancer care centre has started treating its first patients in Cork.
The Bon Secours hospital in Cork has officially opened its new cancer care centre, which was developed in partnership with US medical centre UPMC.
The centre is part of a €77m expansion at the hospital and includes the most technologically advanced radiotherapy services in the south of Ireland.
The new centre includes medical, surgical and radiation oncology, meaning it can provide integrated cancer care, including screening, diagnosis and treatment, all under one roof.
It is part of an overall development of the Bon Secours Cork Hospital that includes 81 private rooms, four additional operating theatres and a new 23-bed day infusion ward, and a new critical care unit.
Patients will now have access to advanced radiotherapy services previously unavailable in Munster, including Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS), a non-surgical radiation therapy that uses concentrated radiation beams in high doses to destroy tumours in hard-to-reach areas of the body, while minimising damage to surrounding healthy tissues.
This autumn, the centre will begin using the innovative Varian Edge machine to deliver highly-focused treatments in fewer sessions.
The new radiotherapy service is provided as part of a joint venture between Bon Secours and UPMC Hillman Cancer Centre, a leading US-based academic medical centre, which is affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh. UPMC is one of the largest cancer treatment networks in the United States.
The opening of the new centre has also created 50 jobs.
Bill Maher, group CEO of the Bon Secours Health System, said: "The opening of this new centre, which is already caring for its first patients, is a proud day for Cork and marks an important milestone in the €77m development of the healthcare services we are providing to patients in the Munster region."
David Beirne, senior vice president of UPMC International and CEO of UPMC Whitfield Hospital, said the new centre will have a significant impact for patients: "Patients locally who would have previously had to travel to Dublin for advanced radiotherapy services can now receive this critical care closer to home."
When the expansion was announced in February 2018, it was confirmed that UPMC would fund half the cost of the centre. It was also confirmed that it would treat up to 75 patients per day.
The Bon Secours is the largest private hospital in Ireland and has been treating patients in the Munster region for more than 100 years.