Evergreen tree marks cancer centre milestone 

29/03/2011 00:00 

An evergreen tree has been hung at the top of what will be the most advanced cancer centre in the UK to bless the building and all those who are treated there.

The tree was hung at the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre as part of a traditional ‘topping out’ ceremony which marks the completion of the structure of the building which is set to open in 2012.

Topping out ceremonies are a Scandinavian building tradition which date back to 700 AD where constructors hung an evergreen tree from the top beam for good luck.

This week, representatives from Skanska, the construction company building the centre, were joined by charity partners and donors as well as staff who will work there to mark the occasion.

Paul Chandler, executive vice president of Skanska UK said; “Today marks an important milestone in the creation of the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre. I look forward to the completion of the building, when we will hand over a facility that will enable the staff of UCLH to provide world-leading cancer care and treatment to the people of London and beyond.”

Francis Maude MP, Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office, who led the topping out and laid the final piece of concrete on the top floor of the centre, said: "The UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre is a major achievement. Its extra dimension is the all round holistic support that will be offered. This is an exciting project, it is different and it is world leading."

Cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support recently announced its biggest financial commitment ever and will be contributing £10 million to help build the centre which is part of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH). UCLH is also working with other charity partners including Teenage Cancer Trust and the UCLH Charitable Foundation, to help fund the cancer centre.

The £100 million cancer centre will be the first of its kind in the NHS and redefine the way patients are treated, using the best diagnostic and treatment techniques to improve survival rates. Every detail of the centre has been designed around the needs of individual patients with more focus on the best treatments, wellbeing, rehabilitation and cancer survivorship.

Skanska vice president Paul Chandler looks on as UCLH chairman Richard Murley (centre) and Francis Maude MP (right) lay the fina

Skanska vice president Paul Chandler looks on as UCLH chairman Richard Murley (centre) and Francis Maude MP (right) lay the final piece of concrete on the roof of the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre

Macmillan Cancer Support specialises in providing practical, medical, emotional and financial support for people affected by cancer and is pleased to contribute £10 million to the centre which will open in 2012 and cost £100 million to develop. The charity’s contribution will go towards the building of the centre and provision of services and posts working from the centre and into the community.

The centre is adjacent to the new University College Hospital and directly opposite the recently opened University College London (UCL) Cancer Institute. This will enable close working with top scientists to develop new treatments and techniques more quickly for the NHS.

Sir Robert Naylor, UCLH chief executive, said: “It is incredibly exciting to see the construction of this building moving another step closer to completion. The UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre will revolutionise cancer care in the UK and help patients really take control of their care.”

Macmillan will provide dedicated space within the building where people affected by cancer can find the best information and support, including advice around coping with personal and financial impact of cancer and returning to work. There will also be access to complementary therapies, and services to address the physical and emotional affects of cancer at every stage – from diagnosis until after treatment has ended.

The building has been designed around the needs of patients and not the needs of the providers. From details like the furniture and the environment to giving patients the opportunity to take part in leading-edge clinical trials the centre will completely redefine the way patients are treated on a day case basis.

It will achieve environmental as well as clinical excellence. By making efficient use of natural light, and using a very innovative glazing system the building will meet the newly announced NHS environmental targets eight years early. Carbon emissions will be cut by a third. The development includes both a green roof and photovoltaic panels for on-site energy generation.

Teenage Cancer Trust has contributed £2.6 million to develop a state-of-the-art day treatment centre for teenage and young adult patients aged between 13 and 24. Situated on the third floor, the centre is designed to help reduce young people’s anxiety and the side-effects they have to endure and will include eight outpatient treatment pods, a nurses’ station, two private treatment rooms, a family area, cafe, education zone, DJ booth and gaming space. The day treatment centre will complement the charity’s existing inpatient unit at UCLH which has been providing specialist care for adolescent cancer patients since 2005.


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