The NHS has denied warnings that cancer patients may have to travel to central London if a treatment centre is forced to close.

Campaigners fear Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Northwood may have to move its services to central London due to uncertainty whether the Government will invest into staff and improvements to the centre.

The centre currently treats patients from areas including Harrow, Watford, Barnet and Hillingdon.

An urgent Clinical Advisory Panel review in July found Mount Vernon to be neglected, short of staff and the ward not fit for purpose.

The Department of Health and Social Care was unable to confirm in October if money would be invested in the centre to address this.

Harrow West Labour MP Gareth Thomas has launched a petition against any closure.

Mr Thomas has claimed it would be a “national scandal” if the centre was to shut down.

He recently added: “The Department of Health’s Mount Vernon Cancer Care Centre review last year made clear in their list of options for the future that keeping all existing cancer services on site was in their view, not acceptable.

“Recent answers from ministers suggest there is little new money for backlog maintenance or for a long-term solution to the problems the centre faces.

“Closure of all or the bulk of the service seems therefore highly likely.”

Despite calling Mount Vernon a “world class centre”, Mr Thomas admits the centre needs money as it has been steadily run down after the loss of the A&E department in 1995 and several service closures since.

Mr Thomas says there is speculation the land could be sold for housing.

Helen Nicell, from Watford, talked about her experience of Mount Vernon since being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010.

She said: “In 2012 the cancer spread into my spine. I now visit Mount Vernon every three weeks for chemotherapy treatment, I also have regular blood tests and MRI scans ant the hospital.

“My oncologist Dr David Miles and his amazing team are literally keeping me alive. Should Mount Vernon close I would find visits to a London or Cambridge hospital exhausting and would have to rely on lifts from others or transport to get there.

“Sadly, it seems that lack of investment in the hospital over the past few years and poor management of funding could penalise local cancer patients and others using the facilities at Mount Vernon should it close.

“I strongly hope the Government will look at investing in Mount Vernon Hospital rather than closing it.”

Helen Blankley, from Watford, said she could not fault the care her father received at Mount Vernon.

At 70, her father cancelled his private health care due to price hikes. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer six months later.

She explained: “I felt terrible and honestly believed the care he would now receive would be substandard and it gave me weeks of sleepless nights.

“All I can say is my fears about the care given could not have bene further from the truth, the care my pops received was excellent, he shouts it from the roof tops.

“This hospital is an institution we simply cannot lose. Yes, it needs investment and yes this is due to the underfunding by so many years by the Government.

“I can’t say what the solution is, but I know we have to save our hospital and the care team that are within it.”

Jill Christie, who lived in Rickmansworth when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 added that had the cancer services been in central London at the time she would have “never been able to make the trip”.

An NHS England spokesperson said: “There are no plans to move existing services into central London. Due to the fact that 60 per cent of the patients that use the services at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre are from outside London, particularly from Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, we are clear that we want to commission services that improves access for these people.

“We recently announced that University College London Hospitals, a specialist cancer services provider, should provide cancer services from Mount Vernon from April 2021, subject to due diligence.

"Patients will not need to travel to central London for treatment, unless that is part of an existing cancer pathway or necessary to benefit from a specialist clinical trial not available at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre.

“Longer term, we need to find a solution that meets the needs of the whole two million population the centre serves, and which will be subject to a public consultation.”

To sign Gareth Thomas's petition to save Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, click here.