A project to develop a new cancer centre in north Cumbria is entering the final stages after keys to the building were officially handed over last week.
The new centre named the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, North Cumbria has been built on the Cumberland Infirmary site and is a partnership between North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle Hospitals. This will mean that more people can access care closer to home, improving cancer services for patients all over north Cumbria.
Phil Powell, Directorate Manager for cancer services and clinical haematology at Newcastle Hospitals said: “The building looks absolutely amazing, and we are sure the environment will be a calming and reassuring place for our patients to receive treatment. Staff have expressed their delight at the light and airy space as well as the state-of-the-art equipment that will be used for treatment.
“They keys have been formally handed over by the builders and now we have some snagging work to undertake as well as furniture to bring in. We hope to be treating patients in here by July.”
Michael Smillie, Executive Director of Finance, Digital & Estates from North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “The handing over of the keys marks a really exciting milestone in this project. It’s great to see the building complete and despite the challenges that came with the pandemic, everyone has worked so hard to help make sure we remain on track to welcome our first patients in the summer.”
The new centre boasts:
· two linear accelerator radiotherapy machines
· a chemotherapy day unit with 15 treatment chairs and three single treatment rooms
· a CT scanner suite
· consultation, examination rooms and a small café area
· multipurpose rooms for complementary therapies and patient support
The exciting project has created a modern state-of-the-art environment for staff, patients, carers and their relatives. It also brings all Cumberland Infirmary’s non-surgical oncology services under the same roof so patients will no longer have to receive chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment in different parts of the hospital.
Gary Holmes, Regional Managing Director for GRAHAM Building Division who are the main contractors on the build, said: “Since our appointment on this project we have worked closely with our partners at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle Hospitals since 2019 to deliver this first-class healthcare facility on schedule.
“This marks a significant milestone in delivering an essential community resource which will bring together a variety of services under one roof, benefiting the health and wellbeing of patients and their families throughout the region and beyond.”
Services at the centre will be run by Newcastle Hospitals, and staff from North Cumbria’s Integrated Care NHS Trust’s oncology services transferred to join the Newcastle Hospitals’ team in April this year.
A turf cutting ceremony in January 2020 officially marked the start of building work which continued at pace and remained on track despite the constraints of the pandemic.