Health secretary visit marks record investment for cancer centre 

13/10/2010 00:00 

Cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support has announced its biggest ever investment to help build what will be the UK’s most advanced cancer centre.

The announcement was marked at a reception this week attended by health secretary Andrew Lansley, who visited the site of the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre, which is part of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH).

Macmillan specialise in providing practical, medical, emotional and financial support for people affected by cancer and have agreed to contribute £10 million to the centre which will open in 2012 and cost £100 million to build. The charity’s investment will go towards the building of the centre and provision of services and posts working from the centre and into the community.

The 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.

Mr Lansley said: "Cancer affects us all - more than one in three people will develop cancer at some time in their lives. We must up our game in order to save many more lives and achieve cancer survival rates amongst the best in the world.

“This new centre at UCLH is very exciting and I look forward to seeing how patients benefit from it. This, alongside our plans to increase awareness of the early signs and symptoms, introduce a new cancer screening programme and give greater access to cancer drugs, will drive forward our objective to achieve health outcomes that are amongst the best in the world."

Macmillan will provide a Wellbeing Centre 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. The Wellbeing Centre will also provide 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.

Macmillan’s highly skilled clinical professionals will work throughout the centre alongside trained volunteers. The charity will work with UCLH and other NHS Trusts in north London and west Essex to ensure that patients across the whole community benefit from the services offered by the UCLH Cancer Centre. This work will be supported by UCL Partners, who already help different parts of the NHS to work together in north London.

Steve Richards, Macmillan director, said: “Macmillan is committed to providing the best cancer care for all and is delighted to be able to work alongside UCLH and UCL Partners to make a real difference to people affect by cancer.

“This partnership will ensure the patient’s needs are met holistically from the beginning, throughout and beyond their treatment. There are two million people living with cancer today and this number is set to increase to four million by 2030. We need to respond to the new cancer story and this partnership will enable us to shape the future of cancer care.”

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: “This is an incredibly exciting milestone in the development of our new cancer centre and we are thrilled to have Macmillan’s support.

“This will be a fantastic facility that UCLH has made a priority for several years, to improve cancer care for our patients.

“For many patients cancer is no longer a terminal illness – early and accurate diagnosis together with improved treatments mean that patients survive cancer and many live healthy lives.

“The cancer centre will also reflect the very best of international practice. We have learned a lot from visits to leading cancer centres in the US and one of the reasons is the existence of purpose-designed cancer centres dedicated to the personal needs of patients.”

UCLH divisional clinical director for cancer services Professor Mark Emberton said: “The UCLH Cancer Centre will be one of the top centres in Europe.

“It concentrates on every detail of the patients’ journey. The building has been designed around their needs 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 this centre will completely redefine the way patients are treated on a day case basis.”

The centre 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.

UCLH is also working with other charity partners including Teenage Cancer Trust and the UCLH Charitable Foundation – to help fund the cancer centre.

To donate to Macmillan Cancer Support please call London Area Fundraising Manager, Rachel Kingston, on 0208 222 9017.

For more information contact Ian Lloyd, UCLH head of communications, on 020 7380 9506.

Click here to see how the story was covered by BBC London News.



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