PEOPLE in Herefordshire will have to wait at least six months before knowing if radiotherapy for cancer patients will be made available at the County Hospital.

A decision in principle was expected at a meeting of the Three Counties Cancer Network (3CCN) board last week, but members put it off until September.

After considering complex information about the accessibility of radiotherapy, they decided further investigation was needed before they could make a recommendation about services in the future.

Which means that while there is still a lot of talking to do, there is still all to play for as far as Herefordshire is concerned.

Campaigner Allan Lloyd, who has been leading the fight to "cut the cancer misery miles" endured by many patients in Herefordshire who have to travel to Cheltenham for treatment, said he was not too disheartened by the delay.

If the 3CCN decided there was a case for a satellite radiotherapy centre linked to Cheltenham, then Herefordshire was the best place, he said.

He urged the network to put people before finance and said the fight for Herefordshire would continue.

Chairman of 3CCN, Simon Hairsnape, said postponing the decision did not mean that improvements in cancer and radiotherapy treatment would not continue.

A new linac accelerator, which provides the treatment, will become available at Cheltenham and there were plans for extra sessions, including weekends, to meet the growing demand and improve radiotherapy waiting times.

In a statement after last week's meeting, the board said it had looked at complex information and decided more work should be undertaken, particularly in gaining an external view from national experts, more public consultation and further exploration of the options of setting up a linked service either in Herefordshire or Worcestershire.

"The configuration of radiotherapy services is a complex issue and the board must make the right decision - and be seen to be making the right decision.

"It is important that any decision made is based on the best available evidence," said Mr Hairsnape.