Superficial X-ray facilities provide a type of external radiotherapy that treats cancer on or close to the surface of the skin. Superficial radiotherapy use low energy x-rays (photons) or electrons so that the radiation does not travel far into the body. The treatment works by damaging the DNA in the cancer cells within the area it is applied.
The 2-module 64m2 radiotherapy facility, though smaller than our typical facility size, was significant in its complexity owed to its 14mm lead lining. The lining was applied to the floor, walls and ceiling, in addition to a 750kg lead lined door. The heaviest module weighed in at 35 tonnes.
Jo Penman, Somerset NHS Trust’s head of radiotherapy, said having the new superficial x-ray unit means our patients across the county can continue to access radiotherapy treatment in an environment that supports them best, while helping to reduce waiting times.
“Our new superficial x-ray unit gives us an additional radiotherapy facility alongside our existing linear accelerator machines, which may not be right for every patient,” she said.
“The waiting times in Somerset for treatment on a linear accelerator have increased significantly since the pandemic as we’re seeing many more patients with cancer. While these groups of patients can’t be treated on a superficial x-ray unit, we can help to ease the pressure on our linear accelerators by using it to treat other conditions.
“The superficial x-ray gives us the opportunity to spend a bit more time getting them into the position they need to be in as the unit isn’t quite as rigid as a linear accelerator. Our previous superficial x-ray unit was located in an area of the hospital’s Old Building that needed to be knocked down in preparation for the building of our new surgical centre.
“We worked closely with our capital projects team to design the type of facility that we needed, providing a lead-lined building to house this new superficial x-ray unit. We wanted to ensure our new unit was futured proofed because these machines can last a minimum of 10 years, but often much longer as they are less complex to maintain.
“Everyone at the new unit and wider Beacon Centre want to say a huge thank you to the Somerset Unit for Radiotherapy Equipment (SURE) charity, which has bought so much equipment for the new unit – we’re really lucky to have such an amazing charity supporting us.”
Jonathan Brindley, ModuleCo’s sales and marketing director, shared his thoughts on delivering another project with the trust:
“We are pleased to have worked in partnership with Somerset NHS Foundation Trust once again by providing another high-quality modular healthcare facility at Musgrove Park Hospital. This follows the delivery of two ophthalmic day surgery units, a PET-CT facility and a maternity theatre.
“We look forward to continuing our working relationship with the trust on projects in development, now and others in the near future.”
Learn more about our modular diagnostic imaging facilities.