AN OPEN day at a hospital is set to shine a light and offer opportunities within a lifesaving service, which is rarely credited outside healthcare.

The radiotherapy service, based at Glan Clwyd Hospital, treats people with cancer from across the region and is one of only three such centres in the whole of Wales - the others being in Cardiff and Swansea.

It is a vital medical science, which targets high doses of radiation at cancer cells and involves a team of skilled professionals.

Between 10am and 4pm on Sunday, October 22, those who want to explore the potential of treating people in North Wales are being invited to the open event.

Gemma Beck is a therapeutic radiographer, looking after and treating patients using a £2.1million linear accelerator (Linac) alongside a £500,000 planning-CT scanner.

The Linac is the state-of-the-art device delivering the targeted doses of radiation making such a difference to people’s lives.

She said: “How many people can go to work every single day and say what they do affects someone’s life positively?

“It’s rewarding because we are making a real difference to people’s lives. I love people and I get to meet so many different types of people every day.

“People ask me if the work is depressing, because we are dealing with such a serious disease. I always say not at all because in every aspect we are making patients’ lives better, whether it’s curing them or improving their quality of life.”

Although she sees many patients – each of the three Linacs they have in the department can treat upwards of 30 people every day – Gemma still enjoys meeting the people she treats.

There is a whole team of people behind the scenes making Gemma’s role possible.

One of the highly skilled roles is interpreting the radiotherapy planning CT scans and mapping the areas to be targeted during treatment.

Working to strict tolerances, to minimise any damage to internal organs, therapeutic radiographers and doctors play a vital role in defining where to target the Linac’s beam of radiation.

Sessions generally last about 15 minutes and the therapeutic radiographer works from the remote “control area” to administer the treatment – even adjusting the position of the patient as necessary.

Gemma added: “The best part of the job is when people ring the bell to signal the end of their treatment. It can be quite emotional.

“You feel both delighted and proud they’ve completed their radiotherapy after treating them every day for weeks.”

Radiographer Tom Netherwood has organised the open day and he wants people with an interest in medicine and healthcare sciences to be inspired to help save lives.

He said: “The open day is aimed at those people who are thinking of going to university or are looking at a career in radiotherapy.

“You very rarely see anything about radiotherapy, which is amazing when you think we treat more than 25 per cent of the population over their lifetime. It’s almost like it’s a secret skill.


“We are hoping to get more local people into the role. A lot of people who train here might end up working somewhere else because are they are not from North Wales originally.

“So, we want to open our doors and attract the next generation of specialists in North Wales.

“We know people who live in our area have that extra incentive to stay and help patients in the area they know.”

For further information, or to register interest contact: Phone: 03000 844 041 (Radiotherapy Reception) or email