A major new hospital that will transform cancer care in a region that is one of the worst affected nationally by the disease has opened in the heart of Liverpool.
The 11-storey Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool (CCC-L) will deliver highly-specialist care including pioneering immunotherapy and the most advanced forms of radiotherapy to the 2.4 million people in Cheshire and Merseyside, and those in surrounding areas.
The spectacular new hospital is part of a £162m investment in expanding and transforming cancer services across Cheshire and Merseyside, a region where people are more likely to develop the disease than almost anywhere else in the country.
This expansion of services will ensure the NHS is well placed to meet the rising incidence of cancer as people live longer. In the immediate term, it will also support the NHS to resume normal clinical activity post-COVID-19 by providing protected facilities for people with cancer – many of whom are particularly at risk if they catch the virus – as well as releasing capacity in other hospitals in the region.
The new hospital brings pioneering cancer treatment closer to communities that are among the most disadvantaged and most at risk of developing the disease during their lifetime. It means significantly shorter journey times for the majority of patients, including those from Knowsley which has the second highest incidence of cancer in England. At a regional level, cancer incidence in Cheshire and Merseyside is the third highest in England while deaths from cancer are 76 per cent above the European average.
The opening of Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool is the culmination of plans that have been eight years in the making. Until now, Cheshire and Merseyside’s main cancer centre has been located at its southernmost point on a site with no acute medical and surgical specialties, and that is also some distance away from key research partners.
The new hospital in Liverpool is centrally located for people across Cheshire & Merseyside, significantly reducing journey times for the 65 per cent of patients who live north of the Mersey.
Sitting in the heart of Liverpool’s thriving Knowledge Quarter – on a site adjacent to Royal Liverpool University Hospital and the University of Liverpool – it will also will ensure the most complex and unwell patients benefit from rapid on-site access to key medical and surgical specialties. This is important because many people with cancer are also living with other serious health conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease.
Bringing cancer experts from the NHS and the University of Liverpool together on the same site will also significantly enhance opportunities for leading-edge cancer research, including early-phase clinical trials of new treatments.
Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool will deliver a wide range of highly-specialist cancer care including pioneering chemotherapy, immunotherapy, gene therapy and radiotherapy. The new hospital has state-of-the-art facilities for diagnostics and imaging, outpatients, daycase treatments, bone marrow transplant, a Teenage & Young Adult Unit, clinical therapies, and a wide range of cancer information and support.
Its 110 fully-single en-suite bedrooms will provide inpatients with total privacy as well as reducing any risk of infections. This is especially relevant during the pandemic because people with cancer can be at greater risk of becoming extremely unwell from COVID-19. The hospital also has special isolation facilities for patients whose immune systems mean they are particularly vulnerable to infection. The inpatient blood cancer unit will open later this year.
The building has been specially designed to enhance wellbeing, healing and recovery through a close connection to nature and a sense of light and space, despite its city-centre location. There is a Winter Garden on the lowest floor, adjacent to the Radiotherapy department. The inpatient wards and Chemotherapy suite boast spectacular views across the city and across to the Wirral peninsula, with outdoor terraces where patients can enjoy fresh air. Artwork will further bring the outside in, by using tree and plant motifs on every floor.
The development of Liverpool’s first specialist cancer hospital is part of a £162m investment that also includes significant upgrades and refurbishment at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre’s Wirral site. The new hospital has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating for sustainability. It was designed by leading global architects, BDP, who also designed Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. The main contractor was Laing O’Rourke and the building was design engineered by AECOM.
Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool now becomes the main hub in The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust’s extensive network of services across Cheshire and Merseyside, which includes its existing cancer centres in Wirral and Aintree, its clinics in hospitals across the region, and its team of specialist nurses who treat patients while they’re at home or work. The Wirral cancer centre will continue to be the main treatment site for most patients living in Wirral, West Cheshire and surrounding areas.
Dr Liz Bishop, Chief Executive of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool is the culmination of an eight-year project for transforming cancer care in a region with one of the highest rates of cancer in the country. It brings state-of-the-art facilities, novel treatments and research together to improve outcomes and save lives in Cheshire and Merseyside at a time when one in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime.
“We are tremendously excited about opening Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool. It has been a huge labour of love and I would like to pay tribute to our staff, the Laing O’Rourke site team, our suppliers, subcontractors and all the partners who by working together have made this happen.”
Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram said: “The opening of this crucial facility will be of huge benefit to the people of the city region. This is especially good news in these current testing times when NHS resources have been so stretched dealing with coronavirus. It adds to our city region’s strengths in health and life sciences and is yet another world-leading asset for the growing Knowledge Quarter.”
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “The opening of the new Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is fantastic news for Liverpool and the region, and for everyone who will receive world class treatment there. The building, the research and the care that will take place there is a tremendous boost to the city’s position as a world leader in medicine – and further underlines the growing international reputation of our multi-billion pound Knowledge Quarter, with the nearby Paddington Village also quickly taking shape.”
Paul McNerney, Director of UK Building at Laing O’Rourke, said: “The opening of Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool will enable our remarkable NHS to provide cancer patients from Liverpool and across the North West with the best possible care for many years to come. It is a world-class facility and I am incredibly proud of the workforce, sub-contractors and partners who delivered the final stages of it in challenging circumstances. It adds to our proud track record of delivering vital healthcare infrastructure in Liverpool, where we have previously constructed the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Aintree and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and also have a team delivering the new Royal.”
Ged Couser, Architect Principal at BDP, who was lead architect for the project, said: “This highly glazed building will become a beacon for cancer care in Liverpool and the wider region. Its modern sophisticated external skin is a clear expression of the cutting-edge research and care taking place within. Even in its tight urban context the internal spaces will have access to high quality external landscape, recognising the therapeutic value this brings to patients.”
Richard Mann, AECOM UK & Ireland Healthcare and Science Sector Leader, who was project director for design engineering, said: “The AECOM building engineering team is proud to have worked with the Trust from the initial design stage through to handover. The result of our work is a light and airy, energy-efficient and sustainable building, designed to put the wellbeing of patients and NHS staff first.”
Image credit: PAUL KARALIUS