A brick laying ceremony to mark the start of work on a new £35m cancer centre at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle has taken place.
Invited guests gathered at the hospital on Friday morning as Carlisle MP John Stevenson laid the first brick on the site.
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.
Robin Talbot, chairman of NCIC, welcomed everyone to the brick laying ceremony.
“The building of the cancer centre is a special pleasure for me personally having recovered from cancer myself 12 years ago.”
Professor John Howarth, deputy chief executive of NCIC, said:
“I have had some key moments in my career and this is one of them.
“The number of cancer cases is slowly rising. There are more people living with cancer and being treated with cancer and there are so many more things we can do now.
“This is a fantastic achievement so far and I am really proud of everyone here.
“We are bringing cancer treatments that are currently available in Newcastle to the people of north Cumbria.”
Maurya Cushlow, executive chief nurse at Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals Trust, said:
“The building of this cancer centre will have a real impact on patients in north Cumbria in terms of travel.
“I once met a man from Wigton who had an aggressive form of cancer and he had to travel to Newcastle every day for treatment. This had a real impact on him and on his family.
“I am delighted to be here today to see work on the cancer centre taking shape.
“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.”
John Stevenson MP for Carlisle said:
“First there was the announcement about funding being made available for the building of the new cancer centre and this is the next stage of the journey.
“I am very conscious of the pressure this hospital has been under recently but there is a lot of positivity at the hospital when you think about all the people who have been treated and cared for.
“Today we are celebrating the good news.
“We are committed as a city – and a government to the NHS. I’m not sure about my brick laying skills though.”
Once complete, it will also bring all of North Cumbria’s oncology services under the same roof for the first time so patients will no longer have to receive cancer treatment in different parts of the hospital.
While NCIC 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.
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 brick 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.