‘Momentous occasion’ as University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre opens its doors 

03/04/2012 00:00 

The University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre will open its doors to patients for the first time this week (week commencing April 2) – offering the most advanced service of its kind in the UK.

University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre

Patients have been involved in the design of the centre and its services every step of the way, from the light and airy entrance hall and uplifting colour scheme to the development of a web-hosted ‘patient portal’ which gives them more control over their care.

The centre will redefine the way patients are treated, focusing on all aspects of their outpatient care. The close links to the UCL Cancer Institute, which is directly across the road, will give them the opportunity to take part in leading-edge clinical trials.

The £100 million development has wellbeing, rehabilitation and cancer survivorship at the heart of its philosophy. This will be supported by the very best diagnostic and treatment techniques to improve survival rates, including the UK’s first PET MR scanner, delivering the most accurate information from deep inside the body during a single scanning session.

Teenage Cancer Trust Unit 

The centre has been developed in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, who bring 100 years’ experience of developing innovative, ground-breaking services which put the needs of patients and families at the heart of cancer care. The centre is Macmillan’s largest-ever investment of £10 million. It will also see UCLH continuing its long-standing partnerships with Teenage Cancer Trust and HCA International.

Dr Kirit Ardeshna, UCLH clinical lead for the new cancer centre and a consultant haematologist, said: “Our new centre will truly focus on every detail of the patient journey. With earlier diagnosis and advances in drug treatments, many patients with cancers are now cured. For other patients cancer is more like a chronic disease characterised by long periods when the disease is stable, punctuated with periods of intense activity.

“For these patients it is very much about living with cancer and living to your full potential – not letting cancer treatments interfere too much with your quality of life. Our new cancer centre will reflect this shift and hopefully make the patients’ journey as pleasant as possible.”

Teenage Cancer Trust Unit

Patients have been consulted on the design of the centre through representatives on UCLH working groups.

Daphne Earl has lived with the experience of cancer for 40 years. First her mother, then father and – most devastatingly – her beloved six-year-old son Marc died from the disease. Thirty years later, Daphne too was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Daphne welcomed the opportunity to be able to influence the design and philosophy of the new centre: “It’s now increasingly accepted that a patient should be viewed as a whole person with prior experiences, not as a ‘one size fits all’ statistic who happens to have a particular type of cancer.”

Sir Robert Naylor, UCLH chief executive, said: “The opening of the cancer centre is a significant development in our ambition to become a leader in the provision of cancer care. Quite simply, the centre is the realisation of a long-term dream.

Alison Finch, senior nurse, and Gabrielle Mroziewicz, Cancer Centre project coordinator

“Ten years ago we visited the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in the USA, and were impressed by the way they treated cancer – out of hospital wherever possible and a service that was designed around the needs of the patient, not the other way around. We were left with the question, why can’t we do that here? Now, the cancer centre gives us the opportunity to do this and so much more.”

Macmillan will provide a Support and Information Service, in which an experienced team of staff and trained volunteers will offer individual support, information and practical advice to patients, family members, friends and carers. The Macmillan team will support 100 patients a day with a range of issues, from financial problems to help getting back to work. Complementary therapies, such as massage and aromatherapy will be available to patients and carers as well as support for the physical and emotional effects of cancer at every stage.

Ciarán Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “This is a truly momentous occasion for the two million people living with cancer right now. Ten years ago we had a vision to fundamentally change the way cancer care is delivered by ensuring patients are always at the centre. It’s incredible to see this finally realised in this centre which will provide world-leading, sustainable cancer care by radically redesigning the way cancer patients are treated.

Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre

“Patients have helped design the centre to ensure that they will be put in control of their own care. Not only will patients receive the very best treatment and benefit from the latest research, but they can expect an experience to match. This partnership with UCLH will be a blueprint for how we can work with trusts in the future to deliver innovative services that redefine standards for cancer care and improve the lives of cancer patients for years to come.”

The total charitable effort (overseen by UCLH Charitable Foundation) will raise £30 million, with the single largest donation coming from Macmillan. The Teenage Cancer Trust has contributed £2.6 million to develop a state-of-the-art day treatment centre for teenage and young adult patients. It complements the existing Teenage Cancer Trust inpatient unit at University College Hospital that has been supporting young people with cancer since 2005.

University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre 3rd floor

Known as the Teenage Cancer Trust Hub, the unit will provide outpatient care, treatment and consultation for young people with cancer aged from 13 to 24. Featuring the very best in interior design and technology, The Hub consists of treatment pods, consulting rooms, private treatment rooms and a recreation area. Designed and based on the ideas of young people, The Hub also includes a gym, DJ booth, computer gaming space, education zone, family area and cafe.

HCA International is leasing the fifth floor and will open a dedicated private cancer and haematology centre early in May. This is building on a long-standing partnership between UCLH and HCA which began at University College Hospital in 2006 and allows a share of proceeds to be invested back into the NHS.

University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre

The centre, in Huntley Street, WC1E 6AJ, was designed by Hopkins Architects, the award-winning firm responsible for the iconic Velodrome created for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. It was built by leading construction company Skanska, recently named the greenest company in the UK across all industries in The Sunday Times Best Green Companies Awards.

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.


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