The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Leeds Teaching Hospitals secures international deals with Malta to share cancer expertise

5 December 2014

The worldwide reputation of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in using the latest technology to treat cancer has helped to win major contracts with the island of Malta.

An initial group of Medical Physics students from the Sir Paul Boffa Hospital in Malta, commenced specialist training in the Leeds Cancer Centre at St James’s University Hospital in July 2013. The Trust has built upon this success recently by winning a further contract to train a second group of students.

Together, these contracts are worth 1.8 million Euros (around £1.4 million) and represent an important source of non-NHS income for Leeds Teaching Hospitals.  This work is part of a plan to develop Malta’s oncology services, part funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund.

Mr David Berridge, Medical Director for Operations at Leeds teaching Hospitals, led a team to Malta to meet senior government and health officials to discuss future training possibilities and to demonstrate the size and depth of expertise available in the Leeds Cancer Centre.

In addition to the further training contract, opportunities were also identified in medical fellowship placements and an urgent need for assistance with their new linear accelerators (highly specialised radiotherapy treatment machines). As a result, Leeds Teaching Hospitals have now signed a further contract to commission three linear accelerators in the new Oncology wing of Malta’s flagship Mater Dei Hospital.

This contract allows the health service in Malta to benefit from the experience of Leeds staff who successfully transferred services from Cookridge Hospital to the new £250 million Bexley Wing in 2007/8, maintain continuity of care and ensuring new high-tech machines were on-stream and programmed to start treatments. A small team from the Trust is now in Malta working on plans to commission two brand new linear accelerators and to transfer a third one from another hospital.

Leeds has the largest concentration of linear accelerators in a single hospital, with twelve on site in Bexley Wing including two dedicated to research which are at the forefront of improving this life-saving technology.

Professor David Brettle, Head of Medical Physics and engineering at Leeds stated; "This activity is not just about providing commercial services but creating a long term partnership with Malta that will also broaden our own local experience and expertise. This gives us the ability to offer our services more widely which, as well as bringing in additional income, ultimately allows us to maintain, and expand, local resources for the benefit of our own local NHS patients."

The Leeds team are already looking at further opportunities to develop long-term strategic partnership with Malta, including nurse training.

The Maltese contracts come on top of work the Trust is undertaking with the King Hussein Cancer Center in Jordan, underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding signed at the World Islamic Economic Conference in London last year. The Trust also continues to explore other international opportunities to develop new sources of income.