The Mount Vernon Cancer Centre plays a leading role in the ongoing battle to find effective treatments for cancers. It is the fifth largest of 34 centres spread across the UK. The Centre links together all the people who provide care for cancer patients across a large area in Hertfordshire, South Bedfordshire, North West London, South Buckinghamshire and East Berkshire.
The Centre serves a population of around two million people, 15 district hospitals, 16 primary care trusts and a large number of hospices and special care providers. It handles 5,000 new referrals a year. The Mount Vernon Cancer Centre has 64 cancer beds in three wards. It provides radiotherapy and brachytherapy services (4,200 new courses a year) and chemotherapy (2,000 courses a year). Demand for treatment is expected to increase by 5% a year in line with a rising population.
On 1 April 2005, management of the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre was transferred to the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust. This was a strategic move as part of plans for moving the Cancer Centre to a proposed new hospital at Hatfield in 2013.