Plymouth, England, October 3rd, 2005 – Varian Medical Systems and the Plymouth Oncology Centre have agreed to renew the UK’s first radiotherapy PFI (private finance initiative) contract to provide the very latest radiation therapy equipment for patients in the south west of England.
The centre, on the site of Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital, entered a specific type of PFI agreement called a Managed Equipment Service contract with Varian Medical Systems in October 1997. As a result of this renewal, the Oncology Centre – which treats 1,000 patients a year and serves about 500,000 people in the south west - will now benefit from state-of-the-art treatment accessories and software upgrades, enabling clinicians to offer patients the latest in highly targeted radiotherapy treatments to combat cancer.
Michael Sandhu, Varian’s Director of Public Private Partnerships, said, “Plymouth was the first hospital in the UK – and possibly the world – to pioneer this form of PFI for radiotherapy equipment. Since then, a number of other hospitals have followed suit, recognising the benefits this type of financing agreement can bring to patients. We’re delighted to continue supporting such a centre of excellence for a further seven years.‿
The original PFI agreement covered 15 years, with a renewal point after eight years. The renewed contract means that two of the centre’s three Varian linear accelerators – the machines that deliver treatments – will be upgraded with 120-leaf multileaf collimators for delivery of flexible and highly targeted conformal treatments, and all three will be equipped with new amorphous silicon portal imaging panels for treatment verification. The centre’s VARiS™Vision information management system will be also upgraded to the latest version in January 2006.
Sue Lamb, superintendent radiographer at the Plymouth Oncology Centre, said, “This is good news because it enables us to get these much needed upgrades. A lot of Trusts simply do not have the money to update and upgrade all of their equipment, despite the current investment in cancer care in the NHS, so we’re pleased this agreement enables us to afford what we need.‿
Jon Pearn, principal physicist, said, “We’re renewing the agreement but we’re also adding to it. The PFI has achieved its purposes and the equipment is functioning very well.‿ He said as well as the accessories upgrades, the centre is also getting a fourth Eclipse™ treatment planning workstation and he and his colleagues intend to begin treatments with Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) – a more targeted way of distributing and delivering the dose to the patient - once staffing numbers reach the required level.
One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime, with about two thirds of cases occurring in those aged 65 and over. It is estimated that around a third of all cancers are caused by smoking and a third by diet. More than 270,000 new cases of cancer are registered in the UK each year. There are over 200 different types of cancer but the four major types - breast, lung, large bowel (colorectal) and prostate - account for over half of all cases diagnosed.
Editorial contact: Neil Madle, Varian Medical Systems, +44 7786 526068
ABOUT VARIAN MEDICAL SYSTEMS
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., (NYSE:VAR) of Palo Alto, California is the world's leading supplier of equipment and software for treating cancer. The company is also a premier supplier of components including X-ray tubes and flat-panel detectors for medical, scientific, and industrial imaging. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 3,280 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 55 sales and support offices around the world. The company operates manufacturing and engineering centres in Baden (Switzerland), Crawley (England), Haan (Germany), Helsinki (Finland) and Toulouse (France) and has headquarters for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) based in Zug, Switzerland. Additional information is available on the company's web site at www.varian.com.