Oncology and Radiation duo combine top roles

September 16, 2021

One of the UK’s elite referral veterinary centres is pledging to provide the most advanced cancer care for pets anywhere in Europe after a huge investment in facilities, technology and a unique team approach.

The Linnaeus-owned Southfields Veterinary Services, in Laindon, Essex, is already renowned at home and abroad for its veterinary oncology and radiotherapy expertise, but will take treatment to an unrivalled level at its new £16 million purpose-built hospital, which opens next year.

Ahead of that move, eminent oncologist James Elliott, European Specialist and RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Oncology and American Specialist in Veterinary Radiation Oncology, is set to take on the role of Head of Service – Lead in Radiation Oncology at Southfields, having joined the referral centre last year.

James will be teaming up with the highly-respected and vastly experienced Sarah Mason, RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Oncology and European Specialist in Veterinary Oncology and Radiation Oncology, who takes on the position of Head of Service – Lead in General Oncology, to create a unique partnership which will ensure Southfields remains at the very forefront of veterinary cancer care.

Southfields Clinical Director Dr Henry L’Eplattenier said: “I am delighted James is taking on a head of service role alongside Sarah Mason. He will be our lead in radiation oncology and Sarah will be lead in general oncology.

“As the titles describe, James will be taking leadership of the radiation division, whereas Sarah will lead the non-radiation division, although I must stress that both Sarah and James will continue to take responsibility for oncology patients across the whole range of available treatment modalities.”

The dual responsibilities taken on by James and Sarah is an innovative move for Southfields, which is nearing ever-closer to its highly-anticipated move to a new state-of-the-art 42,000 sq ft hospital, which will boast some of the most advanced diagnostic and radiation equipment in the UK to help detect and treat cancer in small animals.

Southfields managing director Tim Richardson has hailed the new site, which is in Basildon, Essex, as a statement of intent, with specific investment in a high-precision Varian TrueBeam 120 MLC radiotherapy system, a new fully-functioning linear accelerator (Linac) and a dedicated oncology suite.

Tim said: “The new hospital will provide the region with one of the best-equipped veterinary centres in, not only the UK, but also throughout Europe, with an extensive range of expertise in a wide variety of disciplines all under one roof.

“The facilities include a new linear accelerator to assist our illustrious veterinary oncology team, which has already seen its status as one of the most experienced in the industry enhanced by the arrival of James Elliott, a renowned double specialist in veterinary oncology and radiation oncology.

James agrees, saying the investment in the TrueBeam alone would set Southfields apart as the definitive UK leader in veterinary cancer treatment.

He said: “It will be an exceptional benefit to have the Truebeam radiation machine at our new hospital, as this will undoubtedly revolutionise veterinary radiation oncology in the UK.

“There is now the beginning of a formal radiation oncology training structure in Europe and I am excited to be involved in developing this further and driving this forward, which will be helped immensely by the incredible facilities which will be on offer at Southfields.”

Sarah added: “These are incredibly exciting times as we invest in the best equipment and the finest specialists to make the new Southfields hospital an unrivalled centre for veterinary care.

“I’m looking forward to working with James and we will both be utilising our expertise and experience in both fields to ensure our animals and clients receive the best oncology and radiation treatment available anywhere in Europe.”

As part of its industry-leading new hospital, Southfields will provide separate entrance and reception areas for oncology patients, a separate waiting area for outpatients’ treatment and two chemotherapy rooms.

It is the Linac building which will be the centre piece, though, and it will house the state-of-the-art linear accelerator and incorporate patient prep, viewing and control rooms.

Southfields Veterinary Specialists is not solely focused on cancer care. It is dedicated to providing the highest standards of a wide range of veterinary care for pets and providing a seamless service to owners and referring vets.

The referral centre offers specialist services such as anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dentistry and maxillofacial surgery, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, exotics, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, radiation and soft tissue surgery.