The University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre, for which Skanska was the main contractor, was treated to its first Royal visit yesterday when Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales - patron of Macmillan Cancer Support - and The Duchess of Cornwall met with patients and staff.
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall met children living with type 1 diabetes – and Hollywood star Jeremy Irvine – at University College Hospital which is leading the way in improving treatment for the condition.
Katherine Jenkins, classical crossover artist and one of the charity’s most dedicated ambassadors, also joined the visit.
The centre which opened in April 2012, offers the most advanced service of its kind in the UK - redefining the way cancer patients are treated.
The visit formally marked the partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support and University College Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH), which runs the centre.
The charity brings 100 years' experience of developing innovative, ground-breaking services which put the needs of patients and families at the heart of cancer care.
The Prince of Wales said: “I’ve been so impressed over the years by the extraordinary way in which Macmillan can make such a difference to so many people’s lives particularly at such a very difficult point in their lives.”
Katherine Jenkins said: “It was fantastic meeting Their Royal Highnesses today and some of the cancer patients who are treated here. Cancer is a cause close to my heart as I lost my father to it when I was only 15. I have no doubt that this ground-breaking centre will give hope to patients and their families.”
The Macmillan Support and Information Service on the ground floor is the focal point of the partnership between Macmillan and UCLH and has an experienced team of staff and trained volunteers offering individuals emotional support, information and practical advice to patients, family members, friends and carers. As there is no referral, people can just walk in.
This is provided alongside a programme of group support which includes art, creative writing, relaxation, yoga and tumour specific support groups. The unique service offers support to more than 100 patients and their carers every day with a range of issues, from financial problems to help getting back to work or fitting a wig. It provides complementary therapies, such as massage and aromatherapy to patients and families as well as counseling and psychology to support the psychological and emotional effects of cancer.
This fits well with The Prince of Wales' philosophy of an integrated approach to healthcare which combines both conventional and complementary therapies to treat the 'whole person'.
The £100 million centre has wellbeing, rehabilitation and cancer survivorship at the heart of its philosophy. This is 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.
There are no inpatient beds in the centre and many patients receive 'ambulatory' care - or 'care on the go'. For example, some chemotherapy patients, who in the past would unnecessarily spend time in a hospital bed, can receive their drugs via a backpack which gives them the freedom to go shopping or grab something to eat.
For further information about University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre, visit here.