The Medical Centre Alkmaar (MCA) is in the Alkmaarderhout (woodland on the south side of Alkmaar). It is at this time the largest regional hospital of The Netherlands. The Department of Radiotherapy can be seen at right below on the aerial photo.
Early in the 1990's, the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) and the MCA sign a cooperation agreement in the field of radiotherapy. Radiation oncologist Bart van Bunningen travels weekly from the NKI to Alkmaar as consultant on the treatment of patients. From this cooperation and under the responsibility of the NKI, the MCA has obtained a licence from the Ministry of Health for the purchase of a linear accelerator.
In 1995 a radiation oncologist and a physicist are engaged in the NKI and assigned to the MCA. After completion of the building of the treatment room and the purchase of the necessary equipment, the MCA works hard with installation and testing and making preparations for the opening of the department on March 1, 1996.
Interior of the radiotherapy department at the MCA
The Radiotherapy Department of the NKI, in particular the physics-technical department, has made a major contribution to the start-up of the Radiotherapy Department in the MCA. A working group consisting of head radiation therapist Riet van der Heide, technical specialist Henk van der Gugten and clinical physicist Roel de Boer advised the MCA on the architectural layout, equipment and radiation protection. In 1996, the staff of the Radiotherapy Department in Alkmaar consisted of radiation oncologist Ewald Rutten, medical physicist Guido Garavaglia and medical physics assistant Hugo Lanson.
In spite of the opening of a sub-centre in the MCA, the flow of patients into the Radiotherapy Department in the NKI in 1996 remained at about the same level as in 1995.
Initially the staff in the NKI maintained close contact concerning treatments carried out in Alkmaar. An experimental video-conferencing installation appeared not to function well in practice.
The Radiotherapy Department in Alkmaar did not remain a sub-centre of the NKI for long. After a few years, the relationship was ended. "Alkmaar" has developed strongly and in 2012 has a radiotherapy department with 4 modern linear accelerators.