Go-ahead given for new UCLH cancer centre at Huntley Street
17 November 2008
Plans for a new £110 million world-leading cancer centre in the heart of London were given the green light by the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) Board this week. The centre, which will be part of UCLH and will collaborate closely with the recently opened UCL Cancer Institute, is due to open in 2012 and will redefine the way in which cancer patients are treated, concentrating on every detail of care.
The new centre in Huntley Street will support the major expansion in cancer care outlined in the Cancer Reform Strategy for England. The centre will provide patients, families and carers with excellent educational, social, psychological and complementary therapy support alongside clinical treatment, and its main focus will be on day care and outpatient-based treatment such as chemotherapy.
For the past four years, UCLH has been conducting research into the question why cancer patients in the United States survive longer than in the UK. One of the main reasons is the existence of purpose-designed cancer centres dedicated to the personal needs of patients with different types of cancer. Sir Robert Naylor, UCLH chief executive, said: "Treating elderly lung-cancer patients is quite different to treating teenagers with leukaemia. We plan to bring the best of US style cancer care to London by building a centre where each floor is designed around the needs of patients with different cancers. This centre will be a first for the UK and will set a gold standard for the future."
Mark Emberton, UCLH clinical director for cancer services, foresees that it "will enable us to be recognised as one of the top cancer centres in Europe. The centre concentrates on every detail of the patients' journey: 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." He added that, although the cancer centre would be the "focal point" for a patient's treatment, there would be close collaboration with GPs and hospitals closer to patients' homes which would be encouraged to provide the less intensive aspects of a patient's treatment.
UCLH is already a leading provider of sarcoma and haematological cancer care, and this will be expanded substantially in the new facility. The cancer centre will initially deal with up to 85,000 appointments a year and 14 different types of cancer. These will include dedicated facilities for teenage cancers, women's health and men's cancers.
The project marks the next phase in the UCLH Trust's and UCL's vision of a 'health campus' which sets new standards of healthcare across Europe, and is going to support UCLH's and UCL's aim to transform laboratory research into treatments that directly benefit patients. The UCL Cancer Institute clinician scientists are closely involved in the planning of the new centre, to ensure that laboratory discoveries from the Institute can be applied to its clinical trials and care, and the Cancer Institute is planning to have dedicated laboratory space in the new centre.
The building, meticulously designed by the award-winning architects Hopkins Architects, will provide a welcoming and homely environment which patients and families feel will help them live with cancer, not one which feels like a hospital where they 'get treated'.
The UCLH Trust is committed to delivering top quality patient care, excellent education and world-class research. It has existed since 1994, but its origins date back over 250 years and lie in the history of various individual hospitals, seven of which now form part of the Trust. It is one of the largest and most complex trusts in the NHS, with a £460 million turnover, serving one of the most diverse areas of the country. It has contracts with 300 Primary Care Trusts and last year provided 500,000 outpatient appointments and 75,000 inpatient or day case treatments. UCLH was one of the first to be granted Foundation Trust status in July 2004 and, along with UCL, forms one of the largest centres for biomedical research in Europe, with over 1200 active research projects. It employs 6,000 staff and is a major teaching centre offering training for nurses, doctors and other health care professionals.
This firm famously designed the Wellcome Institute, Portcullis House, the Evelina Children's Hospital at Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and the Glyndebourne Opera House. The director of Hopkins Architects, Edward Williams, called the plans "a unique opportunity [for us] to be involved with providing a world class and innovative cancer centre for the UK. Such a demanding brief brings with it specialist requirements that are technically challenging and will demand imaginative design solutions - just the sort of challenge we enjoy." To find out more about Hopkins Architects, please click on the link at the top of the page.