KIEL. The University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein and Siemens AG have agreed on a joint letter of intent announcing the dissolution of their public-private partnership contract for implementing NRoCK. For the Economic and Science Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, Jost de Jager, one prerequisite for signing the declaration was that the state should get a top-quality facility offering the radiotherapy that patients need and want and that "neither the state nor the UKSH should suffer any financial loss. We will pay only for what we actually get and can genuinely use." The parties' positions with regard to these two prerequisites have come significantly closer in the course of the last few weeks. As he says, it is most regrettable that Kiel will not now be acquiring a particle-therapy treatment facility. "It's sadly not enough for one party to continue to hanker after the implementation. The construction risk on the technical side is borne by the UKSH's contractual partner, the consortium, in which Siemens is one of the partners, and, much to the regret of the Schleswig-Holstein State Government, this risk situation did then unfortunately arise," says de Jager.
As of late September, the newly constructed building at the Pastor Husfeldt Park in Kiel will see the opening of one of the most modern conventional radiotherapy departments in Germany. Two linear accelerators of type Artiste and appropriate brachytherapy equipment can be used to provide highly effective and patient-friendly treatment for most types of cancer (e.g. lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer). For comprehensive high-precision diagnostics and treatment monitoring the NRoCK will also be equipped with a range of the very latest imaging procedures, such as computer tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and combined positronic emission tomography and CT (PET/CT), plus a cyclotron for the manufacture of radiopharmaceuticals. In addition, there will be extensive information technology facilities for medical image processing and diagnostics, plus software for the efficient control of clinical processes. The in-patient accommodation at the NRoCK will be equipped with 30 beds.
"Even if NRoCK will not fulfill all our expectations, this result is a good one for cancer patients in North Germany: when it is completed, the radiotherapy department at NRoCK will be one of the best anywhere in Germany, because it will be equipped with well-proven and highly effective treatment facilities," says Professor Hermann Requardt, CEO of the healthcare sector at Siemens. "We undertook to implement this project under highly favorable conditions for the state of Schleswig-Holstein and the UKSH as a further expression of our confidence in the continuance of our excellent cooperation." Work on the particle therapy unit at NRoCK is to be discontinued. On July 18, 2011, the partners in a similar project based on the same technology, Siemens AG and RHÖN KLINIKUM AG Bad Neustadt, announced that it is currently not suitable for general healthcare provision. However, work is set to continue on more research-oriented installations such as the Ion-Beam Therapy Center in Heidelberg and the Proton and Heavy Ion Hospital in Shanghai.