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Ceremony officially marks start of building work on Cumberland Infirmary multi-million pound cancer centre

The first brick being laid at a new £35m cancer centre at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle. Picture courtesy of Stuart Walker Photography.

A ceremony to lay the first bricks will officially mark the start of building work on a multi-million pound cancer centre at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle today (24 January).

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust and The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are working in partnership on this exciting development which will create a modern state-of-the art environment for staff, patients, carers and their relatives.

The £35million centre will house a chemotherapy day unit with 15 treatment chairs and three single bedrooms, two linear accelerator (LINAC) radiotherapy machines and a CT scanner suite as well as consultation, examination rooms and a small café area.

Once complete, it will also bring all of North Cumbria’s oncology services under the same room for the first time so patients will no longer have to receive cancer treatment in different parts of the hospital.

Suzanne Stanley Radiotherapy services manager said: “This is a landmark moment for the project and we’re really excited that we’ll be able to provide such wonderful facilities to further enhance cancer services that is truly patient focused here at Cumberland Infirmary.

“The new building will be state-of-the-art but it will also be homely. We want to make sure that when people come for their cancer treatment they are receiving it in a relaxing and comfortable environment, an environment that can put them at ease at what is often a frightening time.”

While North Cumbria Trust will oversee the building of the new centre, once complete it will be run by Newcastle Hospitals as part of the Northern Centre for Cancer Care. Newcastle oncology specialists will work the existing teams to provide additional resilience to the service.

It will also mean that together the trusts will be providing one of the biggest combined cancer treatment services in the country.

Newcastle Hospitals’ Executive Chief Nurse Maurya Cushlow said: “We are really excited that, in partnership with North Cumbria, we are now starting to see this ambitious project come to life on the Infirmary site.

“It also demonstrates our shared vision and long-term commitment to delivering high quality, clinically safe and sustainable cancer services to the people of North Cumbria.”

Among the guests to celebrate the beginning of the build was Helen Natrass, who recently received the great news that she is cancer free. She had to travel the Newcastle for her treatment and although very happy with it she would have benefited directly from the services that will be delivered from the new centre.

Her husband Chris said: “The treatment she had was seamless from start to finish and the care Helen received was off the scale.”

GRAHAM was awarded the contract to design and construct the new cancer centre. James Mulroy, contracts manager at GRAHAM said:

“GRAHAM has a strong track record of construction across the healthcare sector and we are delighted to be delivering a project that will have such a positive impact on the local community.

“After 18 months of designing and prepping, the ceremony to lay the first block marks a major milestone in the construction process, as we officially break ground on the project and can now begin to build. The new centre will play a vital role in improving facilities and services available to clinicians, patients and families across the region.”

The centre is planned to open in autumn 2021.

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