The cancer treatment being transformed at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital will undergo a major redevelopment over the next two years. Credit: PA images

Treatment for people with cancer could be transformed as part of a £101million redevelopment of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and Cheltenham General.

Over the next two years work will be carried out across the two sites to improve services, which could mean reduced waiting times for patients and less time spent in hospital.

At Gloucestershire Royal, a new image guided interventional radiology hub will be built.

For people living with small cancer tumours, the type of surgery which will be carried out in the hub is less invasive and means patients will take much less time to recover.

The technique also lowers the risk of complications during surgery.

What is Interventional Radiology (IR)?

Real-time imaging techniques, like X-rays, ultrasounds or CT scans, are used to help a surgeon find a tumour in the patient's body.

A tiny needle is used to make a small incision in the skin.

After that, a wire is guided into the area to perform the procedure.

In the case of a patient with cancer, the probes are able to freeze or burn the cells.

This minimally invasive procedure is better for the patient, and means the hospital can treat even more people with small cancer tumours.

As well as helping individuals with cancer, IR can be used to remove a blood clot causing a stroke, drain organs with infections, and open blocked arteries.

Construction work has already started at the two hospitals.

In many cases at the moment, people living in Gloucestershire are travelling out of the county to have treatment.

Emergency heart procedures are currently not offered at Gloucestershire Royal after 8pm or on weekends.

According to two of the hospital's radiologists, the equipment used by the team is "ageing and needs replacing".

They also said the trust needs to "attract people to work" at the hospital.

Speaking about the funding announcement, an NHS trust spokesperson said: "To date, the hospitals two sites have sometimes been seen as a problem but the Trust believes they present us with a huge opportunity to develop our vision of centres of excellence, providing outstanding, specialist care where more patients can be treated, waiting times are lower, patient experience is improved and patient outcomes are among the best."