Publish date: 24 January 2022

The haematology and critical care services in our flagship University College Hospital Grafton Way Building are now open.

With nearly 100 beds dedicated to haematology patients at UCLH, this is one of the largest centres in Europe. Patients will receive the very latest treatments backed by world class research. Immunotherapy treatments and clinic trials will take place in the Sir Naim Dangoor Centre for Cellular Immunotherapy. There is also a separate unit for young adults, supported by Teenage Cancer Trust and Morgan Stanley and a 10-bedded critical care unit. The clinical teams are excited to work in this facility which is especially designed to provide the very best experience for patients and staff.

Haematology patient room, credit: Paul Raftery.

UCLH chief executive David Probert, said: “Opening these services in the Grafton Way Building means the facility is now fully open. On the site of the old Rosenheim Wing, where the haematology service began many years ago, this is hugely significant. The service has grown and is now one of the largest in Europe, delivering the very best patient care, with world leading research enhancing treatments and improving outcomes for patients. I am extremely proud and grateful to all of the teams involved.

Sarah McPhail, who was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia at the age of 32 received her all clear in 2020, five years after starting treatment at UCLH. Now, patients with this condition will be treated in the Grafton Way Building. 

 Receiving her Bone Marrow Transplant from a donor was a significant milestone for Sarah:  “I’d had several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation to be ready and was sat in my hospital room with a bag of cells being infused via a cannula in my hand. It was so simple and the strangest thing in the world. The doctors told me it was my new birthday, my new immunity and two friends wore birthday hats to celebrate.”

“The new facility will be great. When you have compromised immunity it is reassuring to have everything you need for your care in one spot.” She said.

Sarah also welcomes the fact that the new centre will increase the opportunity for patients to become involved in research trials. “Being ill can make you feel quite powerless and being involved in the research can give you some control back. It’s a positive thing.”

The hospital opened in a phased way and the NHS services are now fully open. With nine clinical floors, the University College Hospital Grafton Way Building also has a hyper modern theatre complex for elective orthopaedic and ENT and oral surgery, surgical wards and a critical care unit and one of only two NHS Proton Beam Therapy Centres. The HCA haematology wards are due to open in February 2022.

Professor Geoff Bellingan, medical director for surgery and cancer, said: “Planning and commissioning the facility, and training and inducting staff, has been so rewarding because of the great teams we have, despite being made more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved. The teamwork, perseverance and effort has been monumental”

Charitable support and philanthropy has enhanced the building. The official charity of University College London Hospitals, UCLH Charity has pledged a significant grant to enhance facilities within the building. Other significant donors and charities providing financial support to enhance the new facility include: artist Alex Ecco, Cecil Rosen Foundation, Exilarch’s Foundation, Fight for Life, Haematology Cancer Care, Macmillan Cancer Support, and Teenage Cancer Trust with Morgan Stanley.

You can read more about CAR-T therapy, a personalised treatment for leukaemia, in this BBC feature. which aired earlier this month