Patient launches legal challenge against plans for new Cardiff cancer centre
A cancer patient has launched a legal challenge against the Welsh Government’s decision to approve plans for a new Velindre Cancer Centre near her home in Cardiff.
Catherine (Cat) Lewis lives on the Hollybush estate next to the location where the plan is to build the new cancer centre on the Northern Meadows in the Whitchurch area of the capital.
The controversial plans have received widespread opposition from clinicians and the local community who have highlighted serious concerns regarding the model of having a standalone cancer centre away from acute medical services.
Clinicians state that this will pose a danger to patients and not allow for the provision of advancements in cancer treatment which are becoming increasingly toxic and require close proximity to an acute ward and clinicians from a wide range of specialisms.
For this reason, it is widely accepted by many, including by the Welsh Government, that the best option is to co-locate with the University Hospital Wales. Campaigners and clinicians alike have criticised the plans for failing to properly consider this option and engage with the medical community both within and outside of Velindre.
Cat said: “These are the wrong plans as evidenced by the overwhelming clinical consensus against this dangerous model. These plans will lock south east Wales into outdated model of cancer care for decades to come. This is a hugely serious matter as the nVCC will be unable to provide the most advanced cancer treatments and I have little doubt – this will cost lives – we deserve better.”
The construction will take place on the Northern Meadows, an important and sensitive habitat to a wide range of fauna and flora, many of which are protected. The meadows are surrounded on three sides by a nature reserve, that an access road and large bridges will cut through; an area that includes one of the largest and oldest heronries in Wales.
Cat added: “I live right next to the meadows, and they are a lifeline for me and so many others. It’s such a special place – humming with wildlife, people doing exercise and children playing. They have played a crucial role in maintaining my physical and mental health and in my recovery from cancer. This has been especially true during the Covid pandemic.”
On Friday, an application for permission to proceed to judicial review was submitted to the administrative branch of the High Court in Cardiff.
The plans were highlighted in the run up to the recent Senedd election with the resignation of Ashley Drake as former Plaid Cymru candidate for Cardiff North. In a letter Drake accused Plaid Cymru of betrayal of its environmental principles, cancer specialists and patients with its “knee-jerk short-termism”, for sticking with the Welsh Government’s decision to approve the cancer centre.
Cat is raising money to help pay for the case through Just Giving