April was a landmark month in Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) cancer treatment. For the first time ever, a patient received the complex, specialist care on UK soil. It’s been a long time coming; the NHS has sent more than 1,000 patients abroad for the treatment since 2008, mainly to the US. But with only two NHS centres, in Manchester and London, a full service won’t be available until 2022. For those too ill to travel stateside, bringing the treatment closer to home was vital. NHS Arden & Gem with NHS England delivered, with a “truly impactful project”, said judges. By collaborating with patients and clinical experts, they appointed a supplier thousands of miles closer – in Germany – with a contract projected to save £2m over three years. But above all, more people will receive the crucial treatment, with 25 referrals already made.
The project, dubbed “a heartwarming example of procurement making a life-saving difference” by the judges, looks set to continue doing just that.