A new £160 million Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital, which was designed by patients, opens today for outpatient clinics – after years of planning.
The state of the art centre was built with the purpose of making patient’s experience of treatment better, which meant including a lot of natural light, open spaces and moving radiotherapy from the basement to the middle floors.
Chemotherapy treatment is set to start next Monday and radiotherapy treatment due to start on November 7, as part of a phased opening.
Dr Majid Kazmi, Clinical Director of Cancer Services at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “It is fantastic to welcome the first patients to our new Cancer Centre. Today is the culmination of more than 10 years of planning and working in partnership with our patients to create a building to transform cancer care.”
The new Cancer Centre at Guy’s brings together most treatment under one roof – previously cancer care was provided in thirteen different locations in eight different buildings on the St Thomas’ and Guy’s sites.
It is the first cancer centre in Europe to provide radiotherapy treatment above ground level after patients said this would make a huge difference to them.
Diana Crawshaw, who chairs the Patient Reference Group which has shaped the new Cancer Centre, said: “Patients have been consulted at every stage and no decision has been made without us. Our views have been welcomed, listened to and acted on. Locating radiotherapy treatment above ground in response to patient feedback is just one of many examples.”
The new Cancer Centre at Guy’s also brings together treatment and research in an Innovation Hub.
Professor Peter Parker, Head of the Division of Cancer Studies at King’s College London, said: “Expanding our Experimental Medicine Programme will enable us to grow our capabilities in designing and conducting clinical trials for new treatments.
“Our vision is for the Innovation Hub to cross-fertilise ideas between researchers and clinicians so that potentially impactful discoveries can be advanced rapidly and successful approaches for one cancer type can be tested quickly in others.”
The charity Dimbleby Cancer Care will provide a range of information and support services for cancer patients and their families in the Cancer Centre’s Welcome Village, including a drop-in information service, welfare benefits advice, psychological support, complementary therapies, and the provision of Dimbleby pillows for cancer patients and their families.
Jonathan Dimbleby, Chair of Dimbleby Cancer Care, said: “Our charity has endowed more than £2 million to the new Cancer Centre at Guy’s so this is a very exciting day for us. It is wonderful to see the last few years of everyone’s hard work come to fruition. We are looking forward to opening our new home inside the Cancer Centre next month and welcoming the first patients.”
Largely funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, the Cancer Centre at Guy’s was made possible by a grant of £25 million from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity and a £15 million grant awarded to King’s College London from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (managed by the Higher Education Funding Council) for the Innovation Hub.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity also provided a grant of £1.7 million for an arts programme – with no NHS funds being spent on this aspect of the project.
Philanthropists have already donated £6 million to the new Cancer Centre, including £2 million from Dimbleby Cancer Care.
Discussions with other potential donors will continue, to help ensure we can provide the best possible facilities for patients. In addition, more than 3,000 generous patients, families, supporters and staff have together raised an incredible £1.1million – by donating, running, cycling, climbing, abseiling, baking and dancing – to make the Cancer Centre a reality.
Kieron Boyle, Chief Executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, said: “The opening of the landmark Cancer Centre at Guy’s represents a huge leap in the journey to transform cancer treatment, care and research here at Guy’s and St Thomas’.
“Having cancer is something one in two of us will face at some point in our lifetime. Our support, and other generous donations, have enabled the Cancer Centre to be equipped with the very latest in technology, funded a varied and inspiring arts programme, and brought most cancer services under one roof.”
The arts programme, which has been curated by cultural placemaking specialists Futurecity, embeds work by five world-class artists into the design of the new Cancer Centre which is made up of ‘villages’ relating to treatment areas such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
The villages are connected by lifts that immerse visitors in an audio-visual journey from rainforest floor to canopy. There are also imaginative lighting and furniture designs, and a sculpture at the entrance to the Cancer Centre which is inspired by a Roman boat buried beneath the foundations of the building.